News - Afghanistan
The House of Representatives summoned top security officials on Monday to raise questions about security conditions around the country, including the voicing of growing concerns about the influence of Daesh in Afghanistan.
"The Taliban in Badakhshan are going to turn into Daesh members, which is very concerning," Badakhshan MP Zekria Sowda told the security officials, which included the Minister of Interior and the acting heads of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) and Ministry of Defense (Mod). "What steps will the government of Afghanistan take in this regard?"
The representatives were eager to dispel with the inconsistencies security officials have shown in their appraisal of the threat posed by Daesh in Afghanistan. "Officials from National Directorate of Security have said in Senate that Daesh does not exists, but officials from the Ministries of Defense and Interior have said that Daesh does exist," Kabul MP Farhad Sediqi said. "So, if they exist, please provide clarification about the whereabouts of the group and about their activities."
The acting director of the NDS, Hesamuddin Hesam, responded to the lawmakers by saying that the Taliban has been fractured and that many of their disaffected members have begun to fly the Daesh flag. "After the operations in the Waziristan area by the Pakistani military, a number of foreigners have come to Afghanistan from Pakistan, in districts such as Khak Afghan of Zabul," Hesam said. "They want to attract our youth to Daesh and start their operations in the northern parts of the country in order to achieve their goals."
One of the most high-profile Daesh-claimed incidents in Afghanistan so far was the kidnapping of 31 Hazara travelers along the Kabul-Kandahar highway last month. Representatives were eager to find out more details about the government's response to the abductions on Monday.
"Unfortunately, people don't know where they are, are they in Zabul, in Helmand or abroad?" asked Bamyan MP Fukoori Beheshti. "Security forces must provide information to their families."
The security officials acknowledged their lack of forthrightness about the handling of the abductions, but maintained that they are doing everything they can to resolve the situation without any lives lost. "We are trying to release these 31 individuals safe and sound, without any harm to them," Minister of Interior Noor-ul-Haq Uloomi said. "We would not like to bring the issue in the media so much, as the work is handled at a high level."
Earlier this week, news spread on social media that some of the 31 hostages had been released. However, General Murad Ali, the Acting Minister of Defense denied the reports' validity. "There was a rumor about their release, but this issue is not true," he said on Monday.
The visit to Parliament also gave the security officials the chance to voice concerns about the security protocol for MPs. According to the Minister of Interior, there are currently 3,000 policemen and 98 police rangers assigned for the protection of MPs, which he suggested was excessive.
"Over 3,000 policemen are with the MPs, 98 of our police ranger vehicles are with the MPs, and there are also a number of armories that are with MPs," Uloomi said.