Measures in place to improve Helmand situation: Abdullah
KABUL (Pajhwok): Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah on Monday said strict security measures had been taken to improve the security situation in southern Helmand province.
Chairing a Cabinet meeting here, Abdullah termed Helmand’s and the overall security situation of the country as “dangerous.” He said emergency meetings of the authorities concerned had been conducted and their decisions would be implemented soon to improve the security situation in the restive province.
Officials said on Sunday the Taliban had captured the Sangin district of Helmand, besieging dozens of police.
A reliable source at the provincial police headquarters told Pajhwok Afghan News the Sangin district fell into the hands of Taliban militants on Sunday afternoon when the rebels overran the district administration office. He said the insurgents captured the police building hours later.
But on Monday, the Helmand governor rejected the Taliban had captured the district, saying clashes between security forces and insurgents were ongoing in the troubled town.
On Sunday night, about 150 policemen left the district administration and police buildings and moved to a nearby area where insurgents surrounded them, the source had said and warned the beleaguered policemen would be killed if not provided air support.
Abdullah told the ministers that security forces of the country had rendered countless sacrifices and they would protect every inch of the motherland from the enemy in future as well.
The CEO also welcomed the establishment of the country’s first opposition political party, “Afghanistan Protection and Stability Council (APSC)” and said its emergence was in the national interest.
Former jihadi leaders, ex-senior government officials and politicians on Friday announced they had set up the opposition party aimed at pressuring the government to deliver on its pledges.
The opposition party, the first since 2001, comprising former jihadi leaders, members of parliament, former government officials and political parities leaders held the council’s maiden meeting in Kabul.
Abdul Rab Rassoul Sayyaf, a veteran former jihadi leader, on the occasion said the need for establishing the council was felt given the current political and security landscape of the country.
He said members of the council would struggle to bring about security, stability, preserve the national unity and fight against challenges the country faced.
Abdullah also briefed the Cabinet about his recent trip to China and his participation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit. He said he had stressed granting Afghanistan full membership of the SCO.
He said getting maximum advantage from involvement in the SCO required Afghanistan to implement some laws. He termed his trip to China as “fruitful” and said fighting terrorism and drugs trafficking required regional cooperation.
During his meeting with Russian prime minister in China, the CEO said they discussed the Islamic State (IS) moving to northern parts of Afghanistan and the Russian leader was told that no such thing was happening.
Terrorism and issues related to regional cooperation were discussed during the meeting, he added.
Abdullah also expressed his happiness over the record domestic revenue of 119 billion afghanis so far this year, saying the target had been 114 billion afghanis.
He said the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline’s inauguration was a positive step and Afghanistan’s economy would benefit from the project.
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