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Previous US policy enabled Taliban advance: Raziq

Previous US policy enabled Taliban advance: Raziq

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Aug 27, 2017 - 18:48

KANDAHAR (Pajhwok): The police chief for southern Kandahar province on Sunday said recent Talibaninfo-icon’s advancement resulted from America’s previous policy that focused only on Al-Qaeda.

Gen. Abdur Raziq told a press conference in Kandahar City, the provincial capital, that the Taliban advanced in recent past due to former US president Barack Obama’s policy of withdrawing most of the forces from Afghanistaninfo-icon after 2014.

He said foreign troops beyond 2014 mainly focused on targeting Al-Qaeda remnants.

Raziq said when the US invited the Taliban to peace talks in 2014, the rebels responded with intensifying the conflict and overrunning some areas in the country.

The police chief accused some regional countries of assisting the insurgents but said the new US policy had paved the way for targeting all militants.

It had been the request of Afghans for 16 years that terrorists should be targeted in their centers outside Afghanistan, he said.

The US understood after too many years that safe havens of terrorists were located outside of Afghanistan, Raziq said.

“A part of the US policy says nation building is the Afghans own responsibility, which is also important for Afghanistan.”

Raziq called on militants to shun insurgency and let the peace prevailed.

“I voice on the Afghan Taliban to separate themselves from Al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Daesh and avoid to be used for the interests of Pakistaninfo-icon, Iran and Russia,” he said.

“A change would soon appear in this regard in the whole of the country including the southern region,” Raziq said.

He also talked about security situation of Kandahar and said a large number of rebel fighters from Helmand, Uruzgan province and from across the Durand Lineinfo-icon sneaked into Kandahar and intensified their attacks recently.

After capturing some areas in neighboring Helmand and Uruzgan provinces, the militants wanted to make their presence felt in Kandahar as well, the police chief said.

The militants carried out attacks in Maroof, Arghistan and Shorabak districts near the Durand Line and in Nesh, Ghorak, Shah Walikot, Khakrez and Maiwand districts bordering Helmand and Uruzgan provinces.

Few days back, Raziq said, militants ‘advised by their foreign trainers’ wanted to capture Nesh district and then Tirinkot, the capital of Uruzgan.

The militants later gathered in Shah Walikot district and planned to capture it, but they were severely attacked in a ground and air operation.

He said 115 militants including key commanders were killed during the operation.

“Currently the militants have no power to even capture a small security post”, Raziq said.

He called as important the role and coordination of NATOinfo-icon’s Resolute Support (RS) in operations.

He said foreign forces’ air support to Afghan forces increased after the new US strategy for Afghanistan was announced.

The police chief said two armed groups belonging to Mullahinfo-icon Haibatullah and Mullah Rassoul were active in the south and a number of Al-Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba fighters were in the ranks of the two groups in some parts of Helmand and Zabul provinces.

But he rejected the presence of Daesh militants in the southern region and said a splinter rebel group that had recently appeared in Baghran district of Helmand was eliminated by local Taliban.

Raziq also talked about the joining of some key Taliban figures with the peace process.

He said 15 Taliban members, including governors, district chiefs and family members of Mullah Mohammad Omar, recently visited Kandahar and reconciled with the government thanks to efforts by tribal elders.

He said Lotfullah Agha, who was deputy defense minister and also served as consulate general in Pakistan’s Punjab province during Taliban regime, was among the 15 reconciling Taliban figures.

“Agha is a close friend of former Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, and is father-in-law of Omar’s brother, Mullah Abdul Manan”, he said.

Raziq said most of the figures had been imprisoned by Pakistan for four to six years due to not fighting in Afghanistan.

mds/ma

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