News - Afghanistan
Lawmakers in Parliament on Sunday weighed in on the ongoing threat posed by anti-government armed forces in various parts of the country, despite security officials' costly attempts to neutralize them. Clashes with insurgents are reportedly taking place in 15 different provinces.
While the multi-front Zulfiqar operation has come to an end after 60 days, security institutions have said that operations are still ongoing in Sangeen district of Helmand province and in other areas such as Musa Qala of Helmand, Wardooj and Jurm of Badakhshan, Nawa of Ghazni, Shindand of Herat and Baghlan province.
Obaidullah Barekzai, the Chairman of the Lower House's Commission for Reviewing Complaints, was the most outspoken about his doubts regarding the effectiveness of the national security forces. According to him, every day tens of Afghan citizens are killed because of violence between the military, police and insurgents.
"Before starting an operation, the area must be studied by the investigation teams, and the security forces must close the escape routes to anti-government armed forces," Barekzai said on Sunday. "But whenever the government has an operation, they announce it a week in advance on the radio and TV, as they have with operations such as Shaheen, Zulf-e-qar or Uqab, which is a serious problem itself," he added.
As Barekzai sees it, the Afghan military makes it too easy for anti-government armed groups to slip away from forces and transverse provincial borders around the country. "In many areas where the government has defeated the enemy, the forces then leave the area, which shows a lack of government commitment for eliminating anti-government armed groups," he said.
Meanwhile, spokespeople at the Ministry of Defense (MoD) and Ministry of Interior (MoI) maintained that they have made progress and inflicted major damage on militant groups this fighting season. In addition to heavy losses, officials said anti-government groups have also had caches of weapons and ammo confiscated in recent days.
"Today we have 16 planned operations in 15 provinces, and these operations have been moving forward successfully," Ministry of Defense deputy spokesman Dawlat Waziri said. "Wherever we have seen a threat, the Ministry of Defense has prepared plans and eliminated enemies; for example, a major part of Kunduz city has been cleared now, and other provinces where we have had operations," he added.
Ministry of Interior spokesman Sediqi Sediqqi voiced a similar response. "Wherever the anti-government armed forces run, they will be chased down by the security forces," he told TOLOnews. "Every province that they go to, obviously we have security forces there, and one day, all the anti-government armed forces will be eliminated or arrested by the ANSF."
According reports by MoD officials, most insurgent casualties in recent few days have been Pakistani, Arabs, Uzbeks, Chechens and Uyghurs.
Security institutions have said that with the appointment of a new Minister of Defense, Chief of Army Staff and Deputy Minister of Defense, operations will be more precise and effective.