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Helmand clerics, elders renew support for Afghan forces

Helmand clerics, elders renew support for Afghan forces

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Apr 13, 2016 - 15:47

LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): Religious scholars and tribal elders on Wednesday voiced their support for the Afghan security forces in opium-rich southern Helmand province, calling on the insurgents to reconcile.

Attending a gathering in Lashkargah, the provincial capital, the clerics and elders said they strongly supported the Afghan security forces.

“In this regard, we have discharged our responsibility to some extent. We have encouraged many youth to join the national security forces, and this process is still ongoing,” top cleric in Helmand, Maulviinfo-icon Khuai Nazar, told the gathering.

He said the ongoing conflict in Afghanistaninfo-icon had no justification and all the Afghans were required to join hands to stop the war, asking the Talibaninfo-icon to join the government-initiated peace process.

Another religious scholar, Maulvi Mahar Dil, said war was not a solution and the Taliban should not sacrifice themselves for the goals of others and should shun violence.

He also asked the government to resolve its own problems and prevent corruption in order to further people’s and religious scholars’ trust in the regime.

Speaking on behalf of other elders, Shamsullah Sehrai also said tribal elders strongly supported the security forces. He said the people of Helmand had been cooperating with the government over the past many years in various sectors in order security could be improved in the province.

Sehrai believed direct fighting alone could not bring peace to the country and the government had to strengthen intelligence organs and also to intensify the peace process.

But tribal elder Haji Abdul Samad said such rhetoric was a waste of time because the country’s situation needed practical efforts.

“Only saying we support (the Afghan forces) will not work. All religious scholars and tribal elders should send their children to join the national armed forces in order we can easily defend our region.”

The elders announced their support for security forces at a time when clashes have been ongoing between security forces and insurgents over the past few months in various parts of Helmand, including the provincial capital, Lashkargah.

Over the past four months, the Taliban have been in full control of Musa Qala, Nawzad, Deshu and Baghran districts.

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