Security bosses brief senators on latest developments
KABUL (Pajhwok): A senior intelligence official on Sunday acknowledged the existence of the “5th pillar within the government” while the deputy defence minister stressed on the need for full equipping Afghan forces to foil enemy’s designs.
Briefing the Mesharano Jirga or upper house of parliament, Interior Minister Noorul Haq Ulumi said “a negative campaign” in the appointment of some security officials had led to the fall of Kunduz City, the capital of northern Kunduz province.
Deputy Director of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) Abdul Matin Baig told the house that the government did not launch new anti-militants offensive in Kunduz in order to protect four Tajik officers who had been kidnapped by the Taliban.
While Abdul Khaliq Sarwari, the first deputy defence minister, said the National Security Council (NSC) had not ordered a halt to any offensive in Kunduz this year.
The upper house summoned these top security officials to brief lawmakers about the overall security situation in the country and explain reasons behind the fall of Kunduz.
On the night between Sunday and Monday, hundreds of Taliban gunmen stormed Kunduz City from various directions, capturing the strategic city after a few hours of clashes with security forces.
Earlier, Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Siddiqui told Pajhwok Afghan News security forces launched a special operation on Wednesday night to drive militants from the city.
He had said the security forces were able to take control of the entire city during the operation that continued until 3:30am. NATO forces also provided air support, Siddiqui added.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) had confirmed the security forces wrested back Kunduz City despite strong resistance from militants.
In a statement, the MoD claimed 150 insurgents had been killed and 90 others wounded in the offensive. The forces had reached Bala Hesar hilltop, pushing back the Taliban from Pul Rahmat Khan area.
Sarwari acknowledged the fall of Kunduz was a debacle which the government lacked words to say sorry for.
Had the NSC prepared a strong army 14 years back, the incident in Kunduz would not have happened, he said.
He warned if security forces could not grow professionally after one year, the country would be under direct attack from intelligence agencies of neighboring countries.
He said currently the military was dealing with multiple problems, but the ground forces would be supported timely under direct attack from the enemy.
Sarwari told the senators that last alone as many as 315 Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers had been killed and 824 wounded during incidents of violence.
The NDS deputy director told the house that intelligence information about Kunduz city had been provided to the authorities concerned, but they did not takje it serious.
Earlier, the NDS director had claimed the spy agency did not allow military operation in Kunduz before the Taliban captured the provincial capital.
According to Baig, “the fifth pillar” of the government did exist inside the government and search for such individuals was underway.
Sulaiman Kakar, National Security Council deputy director, rejected claims that military operation had been prevented in Kunduz. He asked lawmakers that enemy wanted to divide the Afghans by spreading such rumours.
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