Taliban embark on arson campaign in Kunduz
KUNDUZ CITY (Pajhwok): Local officials said militants had started torching houses of Afghan Local Police (ALP) personnel and uprising members in a number of districts of northern Kunduz province.
They said the rebels began the arson campaign 10 days ago and had so far set ablaze several houses of pro-government people.
Mohammad Nabi, an ALP commander in Qalazal district, said militants had decided to loot houses belonging to ALP forces and uprising members before torching them.
Nabi, who also spearheads an uprising group, said: “Militants plundered and then torched my house and the houses of my five group leaders in the center of Qalazl district.”
Another ALP member, who wished not to be named, said militants had looted his house as well. “They burn our houses and loot our assets,” the source said, adding that they had families taken out of their homes and had moved to other areas.
Qalazal district fell to militants the day they captured Kunduz City. The main administration office and the police headquarter of the district have been shifted to Aqtapa area which was cleared of militants during an operation. However, the bazaar of the district is still under Taliban control.
Taliban insurgents have also begun a similar arson campaign in Khanabad and Aliabad districts. The group is yet to comment on the issue.
Arbab Sharif, an uprising commander in Khanabad, also said militants first looted his belongings and then torched his house in Basos area of Aqtash area on Tuesday.
Aqtash, previously part of Khanabad district, was promoted to district based on a presidential decree some three months ago. However, insurgents hold sway in most areas of Aqtash.
Sharif said a Taliban’s commission had recently decided to destroy houses of ALP and uprising members. He said five houses of ALP forces in their neighborhood had been torched.
A dweller of Aqtash, who wished anonymity, said Taliban militants had captured and turned into their bastions houses of ALP forces and uprising members. The resident said the Taliban did not destroy or torch their houses.
Acting Kunduz governor Hamdullah Danishi confirmed that the Taliban had decided to torch houses of ALP forces and uprising groups’ members.
He did not provide the exact number of houses burnt, but said a number of homes had been torched in the three mentioned districts.
“Taliban do this to weaken the morale of uprising members and people who support the government. The militants threaten them and then destroy their houses, a process ongoing,” Danishi said.
Calling Taliban a serious issue, he stressed, a clearing operation was needed to eliminate them and prevent people’s houses from being destroyed.
“Taliban will continue to pose a big threat to Kunduz until their heavy weapons and centers remain safe,” Danishi warned.
A day earlier, Taliban blocked the Kunduz-Baghlan highway for eight hours due to a clash on the outskirts of Kunduz city, in which 23 militants and five policemen were killed.
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