Juram deaths: MPs ask president, CEO to resign
KABUL (Pajhwok): Some Wolesi Jirga members on Tuesday said government officials had committed negligence during Friday’s attacks on Afghan army posts in Badakhshan province, asking President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Abdullah Abdullah to resign.
Security bosses after being summoned told the lower house that the ANA troops suffered heavy casualties due to a weak air support and negligence by some commanders.
The attacks on ANA troops begin on Friday in Ab Khastak area of Juram district and periodically continued until late Sunday, with the attackers overrunning several posts and killing a number of troops.
The Ministry of Defence in a brief statement had said 33 ANA troops were martyred, injured and went missing after the attacks.
But a lawmaker from central Parwan province, Almas Zahid, said 62 troops had either been killed or missing.
Chief of Army Staff Gen. Sher Mohammad Khan Karimi, Interior Minister Noorul Haq Ulumi and the spymaster, Rahmatullah Nabil, appeared before a joint sitting of the Wolesi Jirga’s interior security and defence commissions.
Gen. Karimi told the lawmakers that ANA troops and officers had no problem in performing their duty, some commanders had problems.
He said the attack on ANA troops came when the battalion commander was absent from duty. The commander was being debriefed, said the army chief, who added that efforts were being made to prevent such incidents.
Karimi said 250 attackers dressed in black were involved in the assault. They first attacked one post and then others, he said, claiming some local residents had assisted the attackers.
He said the main issue for the troops was the lack of necessary air support. He said two helicopter gunships operated in southern zone, two in central zone and one in Kunduz and Badakhshan provinces. He said a transport aircraft had also been used in the conflict.
Gen. Karimi continued that it had been planned that operations would be first launched in Frayab province’s Qaiser district and then in Juram because operations required enough resources and two operations could not be conducted simultaneously in two areas.
The army chief said a major operation against militants was being planned in Juram district.
For his part, Ulumi said the attackers had taken advantage from the troops’ weak points. He also confirmed the government was planning to launch operations in Juram district, but the insurgents preempted the move. He said the insurgents would be vanquished during the upcoming offensive in Juram.
After their statements, the session called for the doors to be closed, but soon the gagging order was lifted and lawmakers started questioning the summoned officials.
Some MPs held responsible the 209th Shaheen Military Corps commander and the Ministry of Defence leadership for failing to beat back the attack in six hours.
They claimed the spy service had received reports about a possible attack in the district two days in advance.
MP Iqbal Safi from central Kapisa province said negligence had been committed in Badakhshan and no excuses were acceptable in this regard. He said the attacks were a plot to threaten central Asian countries.
Safi asked the president and the chief executive officer to resign and no longer cut deals on the heads of sons of the soil.
“Army and police commanders have become billionaires through selling oil (purchased for the forces),” the lawmaker alleged.
A lower house member from Badakhshan, Zalmai Mujaddedi, said if the security forces had enough fuel, they would have escaped from the battlefield. He said the battalion commander in Juram district was complicit in stealing oil.
He said current Badakhshan’s Warduj, Yamgan and Raghistan districts were under threat from insurgents and an army regiment be deployed there.
Another MP, Zakria Soda, said the president and the CEO should resign because they had no political will to strengthen security in the country.
Lower house member from Farah province, Fatahullah Qaisari, said the insurgents were in control of 80 percent areas of the province, where 14 towns were on the verge of falling to the rebels.
He said the provincial police chief had been giving “wrong information” to the Ministry of Interior about the situation in Faryab. He said the police chief’s home was in Canada and he had no concerns for the residents.
Qaiseri said he could prove his claims and if did not prove them, he was ready to resign as lawmaker.
He said if funds being spent on security forces were spent on people’s wellbeing, the security situation would automatically improve.
Female lawmaker from Faryab, Fauzia Kofi, said the Taliban had infiltrated in each home in Faryab under the leadership of three Pakistani generals, 12 Chechens and some Uzbek fighters.
She warned if the situation in Faryab was not brought under control, it could not be controlled from spreading to Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province.
Kofi said the president and the CEO should resign because they could not heal the nation’s wounds.
Lawmaker from Ghor province, Karamuddin Raza Zada, said if the situation in insecure provinces was improved, it would help rescue other provinces from being affected.
Wolesi Jirga speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi said the attack and the subsequent casualties in the Juram district exposed the government’s weakness.
He called the country’s security situation as worrisome and said if proper attention was not paid, the situation in the north would further deteriorate over the next 20 days and the fighting would start in Kunduz province in a week.
The speaker asked the security bosses to accept realities and give the president and the masses accurate information.
After lawmakers asked their questions, the session proceeded behind closed doors.
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