Kabul delegation begins probing Jalrez carnage
MAIDAN SHAHR (Pajhwok): The president-nominated delegation has begun its investigation into the carnage in Jalrez district of central Maidan Wardak province.
Last week, 24 Afghan Local Police (ALP) men and at least 30 militants were killed during clashes on the Kabul-Bamyan Highway in the district, while local residents said 40 policemen had been killed.
The clashes broke out after a large number of heavily armed insurgents attacked ALP posts in the area. Despite repeated requests by the trapped ALP personnel, reinforcements did not reach them in-time, officials had said.
President Ashraf Ghani nominated a delegation led by his advisor Eng. Mohammad Yousaf Pakhtun to assiduously probe the incident from every aspect.
The president recommended the delegation to review the deaths in coordination with the provincial governor, provincial council members, religious scholars, local elders and others and share a detailed report with the Presidency.
Attaullah Khogyani, the Maidan Wardak governor’s spokesperson, told Pajhwok Afghan News the delegation reached Maidan Shahr on Wednesday and held meetings with the governor and other officials about the incident.
Governor Hayatullah Hayat informed the visiting delegation about the general situation in the province and explained reasons, issues and shortcomings in preventing the carnage.
The delegation was briefed in detail by security officials about the incident from the start till the end. The delegation is expected meet tribal elders from Jalrez district and provincial council members at the governor’s house.
Later in the day, the delegation will leave for the Jalrez district to observe the scene and discuss the incident with local residents.
An official privy to the meeting between the delegation and the governor told Pajhwok Afghan News that the governor said the Taliban attacked the ALP posts on the night between Wednesday and Thursday at 2am.
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, quoted the governor as saying that the Jalrez district chief, Naqibullah Haideri, telephoned the governor’s house about 30 minutes after the attack and called for emergency assistance.
He said 13 Taliban militants, including three commanders, had been killed and another 18 wounded. The ALP lost 28 men to the clashes that left another three ALP members injured. The attackers seized a dozen ALP posts.
The governor told the delegation that he had informed the National Security Council, the interior, defence ministries and local departments about the attack and dispatched a 200-member security force to the Jalrez district, but the force could not reach in-time because of clashes on the way.
As the situation worsened, the governor said, he called for helicopters to airlift security forces to the clash site, but his call was endorsed seven hours later and only one helicopter ferried 11 soldiers to the scene and another 29 soldiers were airlifted the next night.
Hayat also mentioned some weak points of the ALP force, saying individuals from other areas had been appointed in the militia who did not cooperate with local residents, according to the source.
The governor said the ALP members had no coordination among them during the clashes and they had abandoned some posts on their own. He also said the public order police did nothing to support the ALP members against the enemy.
He said when the chief of army staff and the interior minister arrived in Maidan Wardak after the incident, it was decided that 440 soldiers, including 100 commandos, would launch a search operation in the district.
He said the operation had begun, but commandos did not participate in the action as promised, thus bearing little fruit.
The governor recommended that the public order police should take charge of security in the district and the highway and should cooperate with the ALP force.
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