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Momand arrested by Noor’s private guards: brother

Momand arrested by Noor’s private guards: brother

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Aug 15, 2017 - 19:42

MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Mohammad Asif Momand, a provincial council member in northern Balkh province, has been arrested by private guards of the provincial governor, Atta Mohammad Noor, a relative alleged on Tuesday.

However, Balkh governor’s spokesman dismissed the allegation as baseless, saying Momand had been arrested by security personnel based on a formal letter from security organs.

On Monday afternoon at around 6pm Asif Momand departed for Mazar-i-Sharif from Kabulinfo-icon airport accompanied by another Balkh PC member, Mohammad Ibrahim Khairandish, a key member of Hezb-i-Islamiinfo-icon Afghanistaninfo-icon (HIA) and former jihadiinfo-icon commander for northern zone, Jumma Khan Hamdard’s son Gul Rahman Hamdard.

However, the trio were not allowed to leave the Balkh Airport’s by security forces. Momand in a telephonic contact with Pajhwok Afghan News said the Balkh governor wanted to arrest him.

“I’m neither a thief, nor a murder. I am a political rival of Atta Mohammad Noor and I have protested and addressed press conferences against him. Now he is not allowing me to enter my own city,” said Asif Momand.

Momand’s brother Mustafa Momand on Tuesday morning during a news conference that his brother was held captive at around 1am in after a seven-hour siege by Noor’s private militias.

His brother was directly taken to the governor’s home where he was beaten by the governor and his two sons, the brother said. He added Mustafa after four hours of captivity was handed over to the National Directorate of Security (NDSinfo-icon) provincial department.

Mustafa Momand said his brother’s two bodyguards were killed during the arrest of Momand and two of Balkh police personnel were also injured by firing from Noor’s private militiamen.

However, Balkh governor’s spokesman, Munir Farhad, called all the allegations of Mustafa Momand as baseless. He said Momand’s arrest warrants had been sent by the NDS prosecution office and major crimes prosecution office to the Balkh police headquarters three months back.

He said Asif Momand had been accused of forgery in documents in which the Administrative Office of the President Deputy head’s signature had been fraudulently used.

Farhad said before Momand arrived at the Balkh Airport, about 30 armed men loyal to Gul Rahman Hamdard, Ibrahimkhail and Khairdandish forced their way into the airport through two gates.

They wanted to escort Asif Momand from the airport to a specified area. Farhad said security personnel were bound to arrest Momand at the airport in compliance with the letters. Two policemen were wounded when the arrest of Momand turned violent.

However, Balkh PC member Ibrahim Khairandish, who accompanied Momand on the flight to Mazar-i-Sharif, denied some accusations by the Balkh governor’s spokesman. He also remained besieged for hours with Momand.

He said no armed men had entered the airport before and after their arrival except a few guards with them. Khairandish said all gates of the airport had been shut down and no one was allowed to enter the airport.

He said due to last night’s incident all passengers, including children and womeninfo-icon remained trapped for three hours at the airport. He confirmed Momand was taken away to the Balkh governor’s home after arrest. “You can later ask Momand, as far as I know, he was badly hit and suffered serious wounds.”  

Munir Farhad said the Balkh governor was not personally involved in the arrest of Momand and neither he was taken to the governor’s home, nor beaten. He said Momand was directly taken to NDS prosecution office, where he was under investigation.

Mustafa Momand, in response to Farhad’s claim that the attorney office had ordered his brother’s arrest said why his brother was not arrested in Kabul. He asked the president to try the Balkh governor and warned they would not burry the slain guards and would take to the streets if no action against the governor was taken.

On the other hand, Balkh police spokesman, Shirjan Durrani, said they weren’t involved in Monday’s night incident at the Balkh International Airport. “We have nothing to do with last night’s operation and also we haven’t arrested Momand.”

Balkh police chief Sayed Kamal Sadaat had told other media outlets that when Asif Momand arrived at the airport, Noor had ordered his arrest.

Meanwhile, Murad Ali Murad, senior security assistant at the Ministry of Interior (MoI), said a delegation had been tasked with investigating the airport’s incident.

Murad told the BBC that the delegation would soon reach Balkh and it was comprised of Attorney General’s Office (AGO), the MoI and judicial organs members.

However, Balkh Governor Atta Mohammad Noor harshly criticized national security advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar and spymaster Mohammad Masoon Stanikzai after the clash at the Balkh airport.

In a short statement posted on his official Facebook page, Noor accused the two top security officials of hatching conspiracies to destabilize Balkh province.

Noor said Balkh had been among relatively calm and peaceful provinces and conspiracies involving plans and projects to destabilize the province should be refrained from.

National Security Council (NSC) spokesman, Qadarshah, termed the governor’s allegations as lies and baseless and said the council would make it stance known after the probe into the incident was completed.

sns/ma

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