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All political groups in north keep illegal weapons

All political groups in north keep illegal weapons

Jul 04, 2017 - 21:39

MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Senior security officials in the northern region say all political groups in the zone possess illegal weapons “as an honor” and for protection.

On the other hand, civil societyinfo-icon activists say military parties of the civil war era in Afghanistaninfo-icon have failed to adopt democratic politics.

They say all political groups with such a background should have been disarmed so far.

However, they name no political parties carrying illegal weapons. But Jamiat-i-Islamiinfo-icon, Junbish-i-Milly Islami, Hezb-i-Islamiinfo-icon and Hezb-i-Wahdat Islami parties are powerful parties in the north.

Disbandment of Illegal Armed Groups (DIAG) head for northern zone in Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province, Gen. Abdul Manan Abid, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the Ministry of Justice had made it clear that no political party should own illegal weapons.

However, he said all powerful political parties in the northern region kept illegal weapons, which he said a matter of concern.

He said political groups also used illegal weapons for backing their supporters, saying uprising members in the north were illegally equipped with weapons and said most of them were related to the jihadinfo-icon era parties.

He said DIAG had registered armed uprising groups as illegal armed men due to their irresponsible activities.

Civil society activists said most of the times illegal armed men of political parties were involved in armed conflicts against each other. Most of the victims of such conflicts were civilians, they said.

About a month ago, two people were killed and two others wounded during a clash between armed men loyal to Jamiat-i-Islami Afghanistan (JIA) party in Khulm district of Balkh.

Balkh police chief, Maj. Gen. Sayed Kamal Sadat, talking about the Khulam incident, told reporters that the gunmen were related to parliament members, Asadullah Sharifi and Mohammad Eshaq Rahguzar.

Mohammad Eshaq Rahguzar is a former jihadiinfo-icon commander and a member of the JIA party. Asadullah Sharifi is also a member of the JIA party.

Balkh provincial council head, Dr. Mohammad Afzal Hadid, said political affiliations had paved the ground arbitrary actions.

He expressed concern over the presence of illegal armed men and said they posed threat to Balkh security.

Hadid said Balkh remained one of the stable provinces in the northern region. He did not name any party, but said a number of illegal armed men belonged to political groups.

Qadir Mesbah, a civil society activist and head of Khat-i-Naw Society, said political parties should use their influence in bringing about positive changes in the society.

He said the days had gone when political power was shown with weapons and fighting.

“These political parties should come and present their economic, cultural and social plans, it would also help them positively influence the society,” he said.

Hashmatullah Arshad, a spokesman to the Hizb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA), confirmed to Pajhwok Afghan News that illegal armed men were active in the northern zone and the HIA was concerned about it.

He did not name anyone, but said a number of political parties used their illegal weapons for wrong proposes.

The irresponsible armed men with political groups are more dangerous than militant groups, he said.

In response to a question, he said all fighters and commanders of the HIA stayed home after the party’s leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar reached the peace agreement with the government.

He said HIA would hand over all weapons with its supporters to the government once the peace agreement was fully implemented.

The JIA party also calls illegal armed men a threat to society. Zabihullah Fitrat, a spokesman of the party, said the JIA had no illegal armed men in any part of the country.

He said his party enjoyed huge support among the masses and it was committed to democracy.

However, he confirmed Khezesh-i-Mardumi (uprising) armed men belonged to the JIA party in the northern zone.

But he said the uprising members were active under the framework of the Ministry of Interior (MoI) and they were fighting in support of Afghan security forces.

Balkh residents accuse security officials of taking no action against irresponsible armed groups.

Najib Pason, a resident of Charbolak district, told Pajhowk that supporters of jihadi leaders and powerful individuals in Mazar-i-Sharif and districts of Balkh still governed people at gun point.

He said militants who had joined the peace process were equipped with weapons and allowed to move in groups in the area that had created problems for public safety.

The uprising members and Afghan Local Police (ALP) forces were fully controlled by powerful individuals and were involved in illegal activities, he said.

Balkh police chief Maj. Gen. Sayed Kamal Sadat confirmed the presence of illegal armed men in the province. He said powerful individuals in Mazar-i-Sharif also owned illegal weapons.

Sadat said he would take action against irresponsible armed individuals if officials from the central government ordered so.

Governor’s spokesman, Munir Farhad, also did not deny the presence of illegal armed men in Balkh.

He stressed all armed men who did not have licenses should be disarmed regardless of their connection with any political parties.

About a month ago, Balkh governor in a meeting with representatives of political parties, tribal elders and parliament and provincial council members, said all illegal weapons should be collected, Farhad said.

“Illegal weapons should be collected from people even from my close relatives, a man driving a car without valid documents should be also questioned about his action,” Farhad quoted the governor as saying.

He said the governor had ordered security forces to disarm illegal armed groups belonging to any political groups in Balkh.


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