“Defensive groups” created in Badghis towns
QALA-I-NAW (Pajhwok): “Defensive groups” have been created in consultations with the police headquarters, public representatives and local residents to maintain security in Jawand and Qadis districts of northwestern Badghis province.
Though some military expert say the creation of such militias is not in the interest of the country, the Badghis police headquarters says they are beneficial for strengthening security and the groups are being monitored by the police.
The militia in Qadis was created about a week back. Badghis provincial council chief Haji Bahauddin Qadisi told Pajhwok Afghan News residents of the Qadis district had demanded the provincial council create the defensive group in cooperation with local residents after a recent surge in insecurity.
After consultations with people in the district’s centre, Boya, Shash Mani, Langar Sharif and Qadis Khordak villages, a 250-member group of volunteers was created to defend their areas during an emergency situation.
He said the group using own resources would defend their areas when needed and was paid no salaries from the government.
Qadis was a peaceful district but the security situation started deteriorating two months ago.
A resident of Boya village and a member of the group, Allah Dad, said they were tired of Taliban attacks. He said the rebels had been preventing local residents from harvesting their crops. Allah Dad said he joined other youth of the village in the defensive group to defend their areas.
He said the groups were created as a result of efforts by the provincial council members. He said the volunteers wielded old guns and urged the government to provide them with latest guns and ammunition.
A member of the same group from Langar Sharif area, Noor Mohammad, said they possessed guns which they had bought during the jihad era and now they used the same guns for defence of their areas.
He hoped such groups of youth would be created in other areas in order to secure them. He believed the creation of the groups would produce positive results and improve security situation.
Local residents said they did not oppose the creation of the groups, but expressed concern they might harass locals.
Najibullah, who lives in Khuda Mehdi village of Qadis district, said it was good when people defended their areas themselves. However, he said the youth should use their guns for protecting their areas only.
He urged the government to register guns with the groups in order the weapons were not misused in future.
“If the government registers their guns, the groups will not be able to misuse them and this way the government will quickly identify and arrest those who commit crimes.”
A similar group was created one and a half months ago in the Jawand district.
Jawand residents and a member of the provincial council, Farid Akhezai, said the 500-member group had been created in close coordination between local influential figures and the provincial council.
Akhezai said members of the group possessed Soviet-era guns and they would protect their areas and standby security forces.
He said the security situation in the district had improved with the creation of the group and local residents were also happy with the development.
Provincial deputy police chief Col. Abdul Qayum Angar said the groups in Qadis and Jawand districts had been created on the advice of security officials and their activities had produced positive results in area of security.
“Members of these groups have relatives in government departments. We can effectively monitor and control their activities,” he said.
He said the group in Qadis was created after the group in Jawand produced good results in strengthening security.
He said the police headquarters planned to create a similar group in the Bala Marghab district.
Several groups have been created in the name of uprisings against the Taliban in northern and other provinces.
But military affairs expert Attiqullah Amarkhel believed any armed group that paralleled national security forces were not in the interest of the country.
He said the creation of such groups would not improve security, but would threaten the security environment and would create more problems.
“These are private militias which are being armed. If Taliban give them money, they will go with them, no one can stop them because they are armed individuals. I consider it a huge crisis which is unfortunately gaining momentum.”
Amarkhel said there was no guarantee that these groups would not be used for other motives.
“The state incurs expenses for having its own security forces and officers in order to maintain the law and order. The creation of defensive groups has no meaning. These are private armies, private forces being created in the name of defence. But the same groups are involved in robberies, kidnappings, looting people’s belongings and meting out atrocities to them.”
The military expert said the creation of illegal armed groups was an easy thing, but dismantling and disarming them was not a simple job.
“When the British invaded India, they created groups headed by Rajas in every province and state. These groups would either fight each other or force people to abide by the British Raj. And finally the same politics are played in Afghanistan today with the solo aim to disrupt the system and overthrow it.”
Amarkhel said instead of creating illegal armed groups, the national security forces should be strengthened.
Another military affairs expert, Abdul Wahid Taqat, said Afghanistan had its national security forces and there was no need for such illegal armed groups.
He said the government should prevent the creation of such groups because they could lead the country to a new crisis.
“We have enormous security forces. Instead of creating private militias for private gains, robberies, terror and other atrocities, the national forces should be strengthened and supported,” he said.