Foreign militants trying to enter north, Senate told
KABUL (Pajhwok): Top security officials on Sunday said insurgents had obtained a number of arm licences and foreign fighters, who had sneaked into southern Afghanistan, were trying to destabilise the north.
The officials, including Interior Minister Noorul Haq Ulumi, Deputy Chief of Army Staff Gen. Murad Ali Murad and spymaster Hassamuddin Hassam were testifying before the upper house of parliament or Meshrano Jirga.
They were summoned to brief lawmakers on the growing insecurity in much of the country and a day after twin blasts killed and wounded a large number of people in eastern city of Jalalabad.
Several lawmakers said insecurity was increasing day by day in the country and the government was just expressing sorrows over the killing of innocent people on a daily basis.
They claimed the people had lost trust in security forces and the government had failed to end the cycle of bloodshed amid increasing crimes. They also said people had not been given enough information about the so-called peace process.
The National Directorate of Security (NDS) chief, Hassamuddin Hassam, told the senate that Taliban militants had defected to the Islamic State (IS) or Daesh group by replacing their white flags with the group’s black flags.
He said the difference between today’s and yesterday’s Taliban was that that today’s Taliban had intensified their activities.
The spymaster said a number of families from Tajikistan and Uzbekistan had arrived in southern Helmand and Zabul provinces to create insecurity there and were now trying to enter northern provinces for the same purpose.
He did not elaborate. But it is said foreign militants have joined the IS group in Afghanistan. Hassam said security and intelligence officials performed their duty round-the-clock, but admitted security lapses occurred in some places.
He said Afghan forces had detained seven would-be suicide bombers last week and another 236 individuals who had hand in terrorist attacks.
On efforts at securing the release of the 31 kidnapped bus passengers in Zabul, the NDS chief said a commission had been formed in this regard and hoped it would bear positive results.
He also said Afghan security forces were fully prepared nationwide to keep security and battle the armed rebels.
Interior Minister Noorul Haq Ulumi said despite being under-resourced, Afghan security forces had been directed to stay more alert against militants than they had been in the past.
“All security organs have been directed to show no mercy to terrorists the way they don’t snow to our people.”
He said security forces had some problems in intelligence gathering and that some incidents occurred due to official negligence, citing yesterday’s attack in Nangarhar as an example.
The attack in Jalalabad killed 37 people and injured 140 others, with President Ashraf Ghani blaming the attack on the IS.
Ulumi said his ministry had chalked out a number of security plans, which would be implemented soon. He said the National Security Council (NSC) had been submitted a proposal about security in border areas and on major highways and the proposal had been accepted.
He said all police commanders had been asked to be impartial in their acts and that cooperation centres had been established in each zone.
“To strengthen the police, I will not allow anyone to consider their own interests above the national interest or appoint or sack a police officer without permission.”
He said the anti-crime department at the Ministry of Interior had previously issued arm licences and some of the licences had reached insurgents.
Ulumi did not specifically mention any solution to the problem, but said basic reforms had been introduced to the anti-crime department and some of its officials had been referred to the attorneys.
He said a number of Afghanistan’s enemies in the region were trying to create another enemy force for their nefarious designs. “These enemies sometimes create Taliban, sometimes Al Qadea and now Daesh for their own interests and you know that enemy better than me.”
Ulumi said though peace could not be brought to Afghanistan with artillery and tanks, strengthening security forces was highly essential.
He revealed 275 pick-up and armoured vehicles of the Interior Ministry continued to be kept by individuals who held no job in the ministry. Without going into details, the minister said they had devised a plan to collect the vehicles.
To maintain order, the minister also said police had to be informed about a protest rally 24 hours in advance from now onward.
He said specific places had been identified for holding protest demonstrations and people could stage protests in Kabul’s Shah-i-Naw, Zar Nigar parks, Chaman-i-Hozori and Eid Gah mosque after informing the police. Protests would not be allowed in other areas, he said.
While Vice Chief of Army Staff Gen. Murad said security forces needed people’s full support. He said some security officials, who committed negligence during the attacks in northeastern Badakhan’s Juram district, had been arrested and were being questioned.
“As an army general, I will recover the equipment seized by attackers in Juram and there will be no mercy for those who beheaded our troops.”
Without elaborating, he said differences on the country and regional level had resulted in increased insecurity in Afghanistan. “The differences pose bigger threat to Afghanistan than the armed rebels,” Gen. Murad said, calling for a clear stance on making peace with insurgents.
He also said Afghanistan was facing more security challenges this year, but security forces had chalked out essential security plans.
First deputy Senate chairman, Mohammad Alam Ezedyar, who presided over the session, said security forces should intensify their efforts at reversing the tide of insecurity.
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