Probe team to share Sangin findings with Ghani
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): A delegation assigned by President Ghani on Monday said it would share its investigation into the mortar shelling on a wedding party in southern Helmand with the president.
Meanwhile, Helmand acting governor confirmed the Afghan National Army troops had fired the shells that killed 21 wedding guests and injured more than 45, mostly women and children, in the Sangin district on Wednesday.
The bride, who was injured in the incident, had died in a hospital in Lashkargah, the provincial capital, on Thursday night.
After the shelling, hundreds of Sangin residents reached Lashkargah and protested in front of the governor’s house, calling for a government investigation into the incident.
President Ghani has sent a delegation to Helmand to investigate the incident. The delegation met with leaders of the protesting people on Sunday evening. After the meeting, the protestors called off their protest and removed the tent.
Haji Azizullah Din Mohammad, who heads the delegation, told Pajhwok Afghan News they had talked to family members of the victims as well as local officials about the tragic incident.
He said they also compensated families of the victims and were distributed 100,000 afghanis for each deceased and 50,000 for each injured. Mohammad said families of 17 dead persons and 45 injured persons were given the amounts.
He said people claimed 27 persons had died and families of the remaining 10 dead persons would be compensated, pending an investigation.
Din Mohammad said key points in their decision included replacement of the existing ANA battalion in Sangin.
He said the perpetrators of the shelling would be awarded punishment and three detained relatives of the victims would be released shortly.
The conflict in Sangin has a negative impact on the country’s security situation and the war was no solution to the problem, Mohammad believed, saying they had discussed their views with local security officials.
Acting governor Mohammad Naeem told reporters two ANA soldiers had been arrested in connection with the shelling and investigations could lead to more arrests.
He said the president-appointed delegation had investigated all aspects of the incident and it would present its findings to the president for a decision.
Naeem said he and family members of the victims had talked to the president through a video conference.
Tribal elder and Sangin resident, Saifuddin Sangin, told Pajhwok Afghan News they called off their protest after holding talks with the visiting delegation.
He said the delegation had assured them of properly investigating the incident.
But another leader of the protesors, Baryalai Helmand, criticized ending the protest and accused some elders of cutting a deal with the delegation.
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