In Baghlan, ex-jihadis flexing muscles against Taliban
PUL-I-KHUMRI (Pajhwok): As many as 1,000 people, including some former jihadi commanders, recently gathered in central Baghlan province and pledged support to the security forces in the fight against insurgents.
Civil society activists, on the other hand, expressed their concerns and reservations about the new role the former fighters are eyeing. They argue the issue will become even more intractable once peace is restored to the country.
For their part, the erstwhile holy warriors call their campaign the second phase of resistance. In the first phase, they had contributed to the campaign for bringing down the Taliban’s oppressive regime. Now they are determined to deter a Kunduz-style assault on Baghlan.
Organisors say people’s honour, property and lives were clearly on the line during the brazen militant attack on Kunduz City, the provincial capital. Thejihadis in Baghlan would not let the rebels overrun their province.
Mohammad Nasim Mudaber, a local elder, recalls with palpable pride the mujahidin had helped oust the Taliban’s ultra orthodox regime. A similar defeat will be inflictedon them this time around as well, he asserts.
“We will never allow anyone to destabilise or harm the security environment in Baghlan,” he vows, assuringresidents of Baghlan that all terrorists would be flushed out of the region.
More than 10 former commanders, including Alam Mohammad Ghaus, Malem Rauf, Jamil, Nazak Mir, Sherin Aqa and Hussain, are an integral part of the newanti-Taliban force, whose strength and fighting prowess is yet to be tested.
Commander Ghaus has recruited men from the Deh Salah district and his 50-member force is already active in the Zamankhel neighbourhood of Pul-i-Khumri, the provincial capital.
But civil society activist Sayed Ali Fazil,commending the role of the former commanders in strengthening security, suggests all such activities should be carried out within a clearly-defined framework. What kind of role these individuals will play after the restoration stability to the province, he asks.
Safdar Mohseni, the provincial council chief, says: “We welcome an uprising of former commanders in critical conditions.” He alleged certain circles in the past tried to keep the mujahidin out of the government framework.
Attempts to marginalise the role of these powerful and influential individuals are aimed to deprive them of privileges, he maintains. But today the country direly needs mujahidin as the security situation is spinning out of control, he claims.
Police chief Brig. Gen. Abdul Jabbar Purdali reveals after the fall of Kunduz around 700 volunteer contacted the police headquarters and offered their services to help prevent a similar debacle in Baghlan.
But the Presidential Palace in Kabul has already stated in unambiguous terms any force should be used within a proper governmental framework. He has asked countrymen to join police and other security institutions.
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