News - Afghanistan
In the last session of a three day conference on security, peace and good governance, representatives from Badakhshan province announced plans to form a group of 1,000 local volunteers to take up arms against insurgents in and around their communities.
The announcement came as MPs criticized the government's handling of security in Badakhshan, which has rapidly deteriorated in recent weeks. The lawmakers called the provincial battleground one primarily fueled by regional interests and clandestine activities, and said the cooperation agreement recently signed by the National Directorate of Security (NDS) and Pakistani military intelligence (ISI) NDS would not resolve anything.
"War is going now in Warduj, Yamgan and Jurm districts," Badakhshan Provincial Council Chair Abdullah Naji Nazari said on Wednesday. "We want the government to equip 1,000 public volunteer troops and use them in areas of need."
Participants touched on broader peace negotiations with the Taliban, which seem very much at odds with the story of Taliban advance and foreign militant activity in Badakshan
"Peace is the fundamental aspiration of all the people and we have to pave the way for purposeful peace negotiations between the government
and armed insurgents," civil society activist Abdul Manaf Shivasharq said. "If the insurgents are not willing to make peace with us, then we should suppress them," he added
MP Neelofar Ibrahimi emphasized on the complexity of the geopolitical interests behind the recent turmoil in Badakhshan. "The war in Badakhshan is a regional and intelligence war, and negligence regarding the issue could be harmful to the whole country," he said on Wednesday. "Foreign intelligence are working on on how to infiltrate Central Asian countries via Badakhshan."
Other lawmakers and local officials from Badakhshan have warned about the gravity of the situation in their province, which they say is a clear sign of shift in strategy by insurgents in so far as they have opened up a new front in northern Afghanistan. Over the past month, dozens of
Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers have been killed and hundreds wounded in Badakhshan.
Security officials in Kabul have remained cagey about what sources on the ground in northern parts of the country have described in recent weeks as a mass mobilization of local mujahideen to fight Taliban militants and foreign collaborators that have seeped into the north.
In addition to foreign intelligence operations, an influx of Taliban and foreign militants, Badakhshan also faces a major issue in armed illegal mining mafias, according to Badakshan University Rector Khusro Nazari. "We shouldn't fear anyone and need to talk frankly about all aspects of the instability," he said.