Helmand teetering on the verge of collapse: Rasoolyar
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): Mohammad Jan Rasoolyar, deputy governor of southern Helmand province, on Sunday informed President Ashraf Ghani of the growing threat from Taliban, saying at least 100 security personnel were killed in the past few days.
In an open letterto the president, he blamed the fatalities on flawed policies of the authorities concerned. Written some days back, the letter was posted on his Facebook wall -- an unusual way of correspondence.
He wrote: “I know you work 18 hours dealing with terrorist threats, internal security issues, managing power struggle within the government. But what should I do? You are the last sources to appeal to, I know you get angry, but you have to be informed...”
“Helmand is on the verge of collapse and needs the president’s special attention and visit,” he remarked. On Tuesday night, 90 security personnel were lost, he said. “It’s a big loss, but it is happening on a daily basis in Afghanistan. I consider it treason giving away our young blood so cheaply.”
After the fall of Nawzad district to the Taliban, he recalled, most of equipment, military vehicles and other tools, were captured by the enemy and similar things happened in Musa Qala district a month before.
Rasoolyar deplored nobody was held responsible or punished and that was how the enemy captured huge amounts of weapons, ammunition and other things.
He reminded the president the provincial authorities had informed the central government before the towns fell. However, Kabul extended no support to Helmand to counter enemy attacks or dear with other disastrous situations.
A month back, the Taliban captured Marja district, the deputy governor said, adding the enemy blocked all routes to the town and took control of major government buildings.
He explained Khanshin was overrun recently by the Taliban; heavy fighting was underway in Sangin and Greshk. The only district which somehow remained secure was Nad Ali, he wrote.
The official alleged reinforcements could not reach to the battlefield in time, making evacuation of the injured and martyred soldiersdifficult. Additionally, foreign troops also provided their Afghan counterparts no assistance until the district fell.
Rasoolyar wrote foreign forces conducted aerial surveillance after the district was lost to the enemy and they did nothing except monitoring the area.
The open letter claims Sangin district is about to collapse and two days ago, 44 Afghan soldiers were killed. But no one bothers conveyingthis unpalatable reality to the president.
“The brigade in Sangin district has no capacity to support its forces. We are looking forward to you saving Sangin and Helmand,” he said, adding Helmand was unlike Kunduz.
If captured by the rebels, Helmand could not be taken back easily because there were vast and green areas suitable for a guerrilla war, the deputy governor said.
“No one wants to lose one’s job by exposing the reality. But I can’t keep quiet anymore: The youth killed over the past one year also had families. We should not betray their blood,” the official continued.
He blamed Gen. Khaliq Khan responsible for the sorry state of affairs in Helmand, saying he did not fight but only campaigned for himself to become the deputy minister of defence.
Meanwhile, dozens of people supported Rasoolyar’s move and praised his courage. One of them, Mateen Zakir, commenting on his Facebook page, supported the deputy governor telling the truth.
Another Facebook user, Mir Alam Harifal, commended the courage of the deputy governor, urging all officials to show a similar sense of patriotism.
He supported the voice raised for justice by the deputy governor, Hidayatullah Faizi wrote. All state functionaries should take their cue from the deputy governor.
However, Helmand police chiefBrig. Gen. Abdul Rahman Sarjang insisted there was remarkable coordination among the security personnel. He voiced confidence the province would never fall to militants.
Like other provinces, there were clashes in the Helmand as well, he admitted. “It’s obvious that people are killed in war.”
On the other hand, provincial council deputy headAbdul Majeed Akhundzada agreed insecurity in Helmand had reached its peak and firefightswere ongoing on in all districts of the province in addition to the provincial capital, but the deputy governor had to issue such remarks earlier.
Rasulyar is also responsible for the situation. Recently, differences surfaced between the governor and his deputy. Subsequently, the deputy governor made the remarks he tended to avoid passing in the past, Akhundzada believed.
Musa Qala and Nawzad districts collapsed four months back, when the provincial council and tribal elders sought support, but higher officialsdenied insecurity in the districts.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.