Taliban seek end to operation before power pylon's repair
PUL-I-KHUMRI (Pajhwok): Taliban say the would allow repairs of a power transmission line if an ongoing operation in Dand-i-Ghori district is stopped, mediators said on Monday.
The militants blew up a power pylon in Dand-i-Shahabuddin area on the outskirts of Pul-i-Khumri nearly two weeks before they destroyed three more towers.
Some tribal elders, who held talks with Taliban, were told the repair issue would be negotiated a few days later, peace committee head Abdul Samad Stanikzai claimed.0
He told Pajhwok Afghan News the elders would meet the Taliban again on Wednesday. But it was not clear yet what the insurgent group's demands would be, he said.
“We asked the Taliban to let the government repair the transmission line, but they sought the withdrawal of forces from Dand-i-Ghori,” a tribal elder said on condition of anonymity.
Immediately after the cutting of power suppy, the security forces started an operation in Dand-i-Ghori and claimed inflicting heavy casualties on the militants.
In an email, the Taliban asked the government to officially declare its intention to reconstruct the pylon and stop clashes. Later, the fighters will cease fire to let the technical team restore power supply.
The government has to promise not to attack Taliban during the rebuilding of the pylon to avoid clashes that might ham technicians, the group's spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.
The Taliban allege the pylon was destroyed by a shell fired by government forces. The militants would not impede the technical team's work in Dand-i-Shahabuddin. But local officials and people say the Taliban had planted mines around the tower.
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