Abdul Zuhoor Qayomi-KABUL: Illegal armed groups are posing serious threat to life and property of Kunduz residents, but the government has been utterly failed to bring the situation under its control, said a member of the Wolesi Jirga.
During an interview with Afghanistan Times, the Wolesi Jirga (WJ) member from the restive Kunduz province Fatima Aziz confirmed presence of illegal armed people and said the gunmen were fueling insecurity.
She said that besides the Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters the armed groups were also hell-bent on challenging writ of the government. “Daily I receive hundreds of telephone calls from the residents, complaining that illegal gunmen annoy them and posing serious threats. The dwellers say that insecurity is growing day by day,” said Ms Aziz.
The legislator said that many civilians were killed and injured in clashes with the armed groups.
According to the United Nations, more than 6500 foreign fighters have presence in Afghanistan. The illegal gunmen have also created security-related challenges for the provincial government. Their presence have provoked Kunduz’s governor and warned that he would resign if the central government failed to disarm the groups.
The provincial governor Muhammad Omer Safi urged the Ministry of Interior to neutralize the armed factions. In a meeting with elders, Safi has showed concern over presence of the armed people and given two weeks deadline to the groups to cease their activities.
Fatima Aziz said that several people were killed when they were at their shops or homes. “Many people left their homes past month. Due to a clash between two groups in Khan Abad district, few months ago, seven members of a family were killed,” she lamented.
The rampant insecurity has also prevented farmers from going to their fields. Recently, a woman was killed her daughter was injured, as result of clash between armed people, when she was preparing breakfast for her school-going children. Scores of shopkeepers have lost their lives because of conflicts between the armed groups, she told Afghanistan Times.
She went on saying that many people were misusing their weapons. “I received complaints in this regard as well, especially from girls. Women and girls complained of harassment by commanders of the armed groups. They say that their daily life has been disrupted by presence of the armed people. The irresponsible gunmen asked girls for wedding tax. I have received a phone call from a woman who was approached by commander of the gunmen for the so-called and illegal wedding tax,” the lawmaker said.
Ms Aziz added that the gunmen even took away the cooked food.
When asked why the government is not taking the issue seriously, she replied that in a meeting with representatives of the northeast zone the president and other concerned officials vowed to bring the situation under control, but they have failed to translate their words into actions.
She further said that more than ten times she asked the ministries of defense and interior to take action and disarm the irresponsible gunmen, but nothing happened. The local government is unable to control them due to lack of sufficient facilities, added the lawmaker.
Afghanistan Times has tried to get comments of the provincial police and Ministry of Interior over deteriorating law and order situation in Kunduz, but failed as the officials were not ready to talk on this particular issue.