Dostum to Taliban: Surrender or face consequences
MAIMANA (Pajhwok): First Vice President Gen. Abdul Rashid Dustam on Tuesday warned Taliban to surrender and join the reconciliation process or be ready for dire consequences.
At a meeting with security forces in the volatile Qaisar district of northwestern Faryab province, Dostum warned the militants to shun violence in the supreme national interest.
The area is infested with the Taliban who often stage attacks on security forces and state installations. During his speech, the VP rejected reports of creating his own militia to fight against the resurgent rebels.
Being the 1st vice president, he said, Afghan security forces were under his command and there was no need for the creation of a private militia.
He had been in Faryab following directives from President Ashraf Ghani and the National Security Council (NSC) to assess security situation on the ground.
Gen. Dostum believed the situation in Faryab could further deteriorate if security forces did not stop Taliban attacks in the province. According to him, 4,000 Taliban plan to mount spectacular attacks to capture the province.
Dostum said he was aware of the death of Taliban’s supreme leader one year ago when most of the the militants did not know their leader was dead.
He alleged Taliban continued fighting against Afghan forces in the last two years following directives from others and they were kept unaware about the death of their leader.
About the new Taliban leader’s vow to intensify the war, Dostum said he knew Mullah Akhtar Mansour well and wanted him and other fighters to lay down their weapons and end the conflict.
The government wanted the Taliban to join the peace process; in the case of defiance the groups would be defeated and by the valiant security forces, he added.
Gen. Qadam Shah Shahim, chief of the armed forces, said 300 militants, including Pakistani, Uzbek and Chechen, had been killed in clearing operations codenamed Shamsher in the past two weeks.
He accused foreign spy-networks of supporting terrorists in Afghanistan, claiming the militants had been driven from several localities of Faryab with the help of uprising groups.
On the occasion, hundreds of the security personnel thanked the 1st vice-president for visiting Faryab to boost their morale.
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