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The Killid Group

Local militias accused of harassment

Written by Ziaul Haq Muhammadi
Sunday, 28 November 2010 13:17

Local militias accused of harassment

The Afghan government plans to expand the local police force in insecure areas of the country has worried people many of whom have had a bad experience with them, our investigation reveals.

A local from Kunduz, Abdullah, says armed militias mistreat people in villages and are involved in thefts and robberies. "Militias are the same as the ex-warlords whom the government has provided with licenses for their weapons", he says. Militias roam around in the city with weapons in civilian clothes and during the night, they rob people and steal. "They force people to give them money calling it tax", he says.

Another local from Kunduz, Samiullah, says the same thing and adds that the militia groups have created a lot of problems for the locals. "20 to 25 people stand in front of a house and ask the family for food, but if the family refuses to provide it, the militias beat the hell out of them", he says.

In addition to Kunduz province, people in Baghlan and Wardak province are also fed up with the local militias, called Arbaki.

A local from Baghlan province, Gul Zaman, says militias harass people in their area of responsibility instead of tackling insurgency. "They overpower people and do what they feel like doing - locals are fed up with them", he says. A local from Maidan Wardak also complains, saying such police forces create insecurity instead of security.

A local from Jalriz district of the province, 23 year old Aimal, adds that Taliban attack the police force and the police take their anger out on the locals. He describes an incident he witnessed when a militia vehicle was blown up by a roadside bomb and the militia opened fire on civilians. "During the firing an innocent man was injured and another one was killed. All the people left their shops open and fled the area. The militias looted their shops and took everything with them", he says. He states that the militias not only looted the shops, but they also fired on vehicles parked in the areas and damaged them.

But in Kunduz province some commanders of the militias deny all these allegations. A commander in Khanabad district of the province, Muhammad Omar Frotan, who has 300 armed personnel, says he has bought the weapons and ammunitions using his personal funds. "People are just spreading rumours. We sold our tractors and used the money to buy weapons and we're standing by the government", he says.

Another commander in Kunduz province, named Abdul Baqi, says: "There are some commanders like Khawaja Qand and Shah Zaman in Jungle Bashi and Khwaja Pasta area of Kunduz who take money from locals by force calling the money 'tax', but we will soon take an action against them".

"No such harassments"

But on the other hand, the security chief of Kunduz, Abdul Rahman Saed Khili, says those operating as militias in the area are on the National Security payroll and their weapons are registered.

The head of intelligence in Kunduz province, Muhammad Hassan, says there is no such force that harasses the people. "People's complaints are justified to some extent - it is not an organized force. We're trying to put the armed forces with the local police that will solve people's problems", he says.

Also, a police chief in Maidan Wardak province, Saed Nazarab Shah, denies the allegation made by people. "Everybody knows that the police come from the people to serve people. It is the enemy propaganda which says that the police are mistreating the locals", he adds.

The security chief of the province, Haqnawaz Haqyaar, says he had completed his investigations into some incidents and will submit them to the General Attorney in the near future.

Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, an opposition leader, says that in some areas people equipped with weapons have been making trouble and are affiliated with the insurgents. "Last year, the Kabul - Badakhshan highway was perfectly safe, but not anymore - everybody has witnessed that the armed militias are behind insecurity", he said.

A political analyst, Abdul Sattar Sahadad, says the plan was not that of the Afghan government but of General David Petreaus, top commander of the U.S.-NATO forces . "President Karzai has imposed some restriction on the local police plan considering the bad experiences during communist regime. He established the force within the framework of Ministry of Interior".

The general commander of the local police force in the Ministry, Khan Muhammad, says based on the decision by the National Security Council the police force being built is not Arbaki or militia. He says the total number of the force will be 10,000 soldiers. "The individuals will be introduced by the tribal Shura to security chiefs in the districts and then will be trained and equipped with weapons and their monthly salary will be 9000 Afs (around USD200).

The last time similar militias had been set up during the time of Najibullah, points out, military analyst Atiqullah Amarkhail. “but they ended up overthrowing him.”

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