News - Afghanistan
While visiting the northern Badakhshan province on Friday, Minister of Interior Noor-ul-haq Ulomi vowed that militants in the area would subdued and prevented from ever conducting another attack like the one that left nearly 30 Afghan National Army (ANA) troops dead last week again.
Ulomi expressed appreciation for the sacrifices of the local security forces, saying he would ensure more weapons and resources are sent to the province to help suppress insurgents effectively.
Ulomi's visit to Badakhshan comes a week after militants ambushed killed nearly 30 ANA soldiers at a remote outpost in Jurm district while their commander was on unapproved leave in Kabul. The slain soldiers are said to have lacked adequate fuel to escape the area in which the insurgents were active, ultimately causing them to be stranded and outgunned, and prompting backlash among many commentators who have cited it as a prime example of corruption and negligence within Afghan security institutions.
Ulomi, while speaking to residents of Wardoj district, called on the security forces to prepare for a counter-offensive clearingoperation in Wardoj and Jurm districts.
"Now it is the time to act, and you are in the trenches and against the avowed foe of the people of Afghanistan," Ulomi told a crowd of soldiers, police and residents. "They [the militant] must realize that they are very weak and our people are much stronger, awakened and will safeguard their interests, beliefs and flag [...] they will sacrifice their lives, but not retreat," he said.
Nevertheless, Ulomi acknowledged the challenge of fighting a battle against an enemy that has support and can seek refuge in neighboring foreign territory. "I know who is the enemy and what he wants [...] We know that the war is waged from outside," he said on Friday.
Following the ambush last week, the Ministry of Defense has assigned an investigation team to probe the incident. Preliminary findings suggest major negligence on the part of certain ANA officers, who sources close to the issue say are likely to face legal repercussions.