Takhar residents seek prosecution of dreaded commander
TALOQAN (Pajhwok): Angry residents of northern Takhar province on Thursday called for the prosecution of a dreaded commander, accused of massacring several civilians.
Residents allege the commander, who has grabbed hundreds of acres of state and private lands, distributed weapons to members of the (anti-Taliban) People’s Movement a month ago.
The move triggered public protests and opposition from local authorities. The protesting residents also accused Maqul of killing a Rustaq district attorney, Mohammad Mir, five days ago.
Mir’s uncle Abdullah, accompanied by about 200 tribal elders and influential figures from Rustaq and Yangi towns, arrived in the provincial capital to lodge a formal protest with the authorities.
He told Pajhwok Afghan News Maqul’s men had gunned down his nephew in the line of duty and in broad daylight. He blasted the government for doing nothing to detain the killers.
“Mir was captured in Sar Rustaq area by the commander’s gunmen on his way back to office from the search of a house. He was later shot to death,” Abdullah claimed, warning of taking up arms against the killers if the authorities failed to arrest them.
They were ready to die but would not spare the killers of his nephew, he said, blaming the commander and his armed loyalists for fuelling anarchy in the district. He assailed the government for being unable to initiate a probe into the murder.
A provincial council member from the district, Ainuddin Rustaqi, accused Maqul’s father-i-law -- backed by 300 gunmen -- of killing the attorney. He said they would take their own decision if the commander and his supporters were not disarmed.
He said the provincial government would be responsible for consequences if the people resorted to unilateral action due to its foot-dragging on the sensitive issue.
“Not only Rustaq, six other districts across Kokcha River will plunge into chaos,” Abdullah said, adding public representatives were walking a tight rope in establishing the government’s writ.
Approached for comments. Maqul told Pajhwok vehemently rejected the allegations as a defamation campaign against him. “If I am a suspect in its eyes, the government should investigate me.
“If found guilty, I’m ready to go to jail,” the commander said, insisted the attorney had entered the house illegally that he had been killed by its inmates and their relatives.
Brig. Gen. Noor Mohammad Hakimi, the provincial police chief, told the elders from Rustaq and Yangi the attorney had not been murdered by Maqul. “Let’s find the killer, leave alone Maqul. We are trying to ascertain who the murderer is.”
But acting Governor Abdul Latif Ibrahimi said Mir was killed in broad daylight and there was strong evidence of who the killer was. A delegation had been dispatched to the area to investigate the incident, he added.
“We haven’t put this case on the back burner and will take practical steps to address it after sharing the issue with the central government,” the acting governor remarked.
On the other hand, the elders threatened with continued protests if the commander was not detained by Friday. The said the rulers would be accountable for any untoward situation arising from their protests.
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