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Senators want Kunduz military operation resumed, BSA reviewed

Abdul Zuhoor Qayomi-KABUL: Senators on Sunday called on the government to resume military operations in Kunduz and other northern provinces and review the bilateral security agreement aka BSA, which was signed between Kabul and Washington on September 30, 2014—a day after the new government came into being.

Concerning over growing insecurity and reactivation of militants in Kunduz and Baghlan, the senators suggested the government to bar the rebels from entering into the central cities of the two provinces. They blamed the government for political deals and looking the other way to security situation in north, and said the National Unity Government (NUG) should brief the Senate house in this regard.

Senator Afzal Shamil said the Taliban militants have been reactivated in several parts of the north and are trying to threaten security situation there, but the military operations against them have been stopped. “They still pose threat to parts of the province, particularly Imam Sahib district. A security check point in 30 kilometers from the district has been under siege by militants and has not been supported logistically,” he said.

Praising bravery of the security forces in fight against the Taliban fighters, he said the government has not equipped them properly therefore they face lack of weapons and other facilities in war against insurgents.

He nudged the government to resume military operation in Kunduz and other northern parts, and said terrorists’ safe havens should be targeted and none of them should remain north.

Nisar Haris, a senator from Kabul, said a number of government officials are behind insecurity in Kunduz. He suggested that insurgents’ hideouts should be found and targeted in Kunduz and it should be assessed that who is behind insecurity in north.

He said there are a number of officials that have made Kunduz insecure and shifted the Taliban militants there to destabilize the province. However, he did not mention any specific name in this regard.

Another senator, Sayid Safiullah Hashimi, said the northern Samangan province is under threat by insurgents therefore number of local and national police should be mounted and more attention should be paid to ensure the locals’ safety.

In the meantime, senators criticized the US for not implementing the BSA and said the government should review the security agreement.

Senator Sami Faisal alleged the president for growing insecurity in north, and said the basic plan was to handover Kunduz to the Taliban, but the wise management of deputy interior minister Mohammad Ayub Salangi and a prominent general of the Defense Ministry Morad Ali Morad saved the province and did not allow the Taliban to capture the province. However, he said that the fight restarted by the Taliban militants and the security forces’ morale was damaged after they were ordered to stop the military operation and recalling the two top security officials to return to Kabul.

Salangi said in an interview with TOLONews that he was ordered by the Interior Minister to return to Kabul. He said he is a military officer and he follows orders by his seniors.

Senator Zalmai Zabuli said the reason behind stopping military operation in Kunduz and recalling the two high ranking security officials to return to Kabul should be explained by the president.

The Sunday session was scheduled for summoning the National Security Advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar and Paktika governor Abdul Karim Matin. But Atmar sent his deputy to the house, which made senators to postponed the summoning session to Tuesday.

“The BSA should have been signed when Daesh and the Taliban were not in Afghanistan. The US wants to make Afghanistan the center of terrorism and war in the region,” said Senator Rahmatullah Achakzai.

He suggested that the security deal should be reviewed and should be revoked if it did not prove vital for the country. He also suggested that the National Security Advisor should be summoned in upcoming sessions of the house.

Another senator, Farida Kochi, slammed the BSA and said Daesh and the Taliban militants improved after the security deal was signed between Kabul and Washington. “The security deals should be reviewed and then it should be canceled if it was not proved vital for the country,” she suggested.

Chairman of the Senate, Fazl Hadi Muslimyar, called on senators to avoid baseless allegations on president and other government officials, and said security forces lack coordination in their activities. “The National Security Advisor should be present on Tuesday to brief the senators over insecurity in north and the BSA enforcement,” he added.

He said the Senate will decide on the BSA in upcoming sessions.

In the meantime, Abdul Wadud Paiman, an MP from Kunduz, told Afghanistan Times that the required military operations were not conducted in the province—as it was expected by the residents. “It seems that a large scale military operation will be launched in the province as the locals have been informed by security forces to leave their houses,” he added.

He said the military operation would have been more successful if former Mujahideen leaders were given role in battle against militants in Kunduz. “Regional spy agencies have spread the propaganda that a number of former Mujahideen commanders are behind insecurity in Kunduz. These allegations are baseless. The province will have collapsed to the Taliban militants if the Mujahideen commanders were not there,” he said.

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