PAN, August 8, 2011

Foreign troops harassing residents after crash

He confirmed the detention of locals by foreign troops, but did not have the exact figures

By Mohammad Hakim Basharat

Foreign troops have allegedly been detaining and harassing civilians after 31 US Special Force members were killed in a Chinook helicopter crash in the Syedabad district of central Maidan Wardak province.

Naimatullah, a resident of the Joyee Zarin area, told Pajhwok Afghan News US forces had besieged the Tangi Valley and have been searching people's houses. No one can exit their houses, he said, adding the troops arrested every one coming out of home.

The foreign troops have launched a search operation, causing panic among residents. Since the helicopter crash, no one has been able to come out of home for fear of arrest, said Shafiq, another resident of the area.

Shafiq said his family members, including women, had gone to the Hassan Khel area from Kabul. The man said he had since been unable to contact his kin. He confirmed the detention of locals by foreign troops, but did not have the exact figures.

A teacher at the Imam Abu Hanifa High School said on condition of anonymity that a large number of foreign soldiers had surrounded the area. Residents were annoyed both by NATO-led soldiers and the Taliban, he continued.

He warned of a humanitarian crisis if the siege of the populous area was not lifted. The residents are currently unable to take their patients to hospital, lack edibles and other essential items.

While accusing Coalition troops of targeting the locals in retaliation for the crash, he said that Gul Nabi, a local rebel commander and brother of Taliban leader Maulvi Fazal Rabi, had been killed in the operation.

But Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said Gul Nabi was a fighter, not a commander. He was among eight Taliban killed in Saturday night's raid, the spokesman added.

A journalist, who was going to Tangi, said: "On the way from the Sheikhabad area to Tangi, Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers told me if you love your life, don’t go there; otherwise you will be killed."

Shahidullah Shahid, the governor's spokesman, said security forces were making efforts to avoid civilian casualties in the area. He added 20 Taliban fighters had been killed since Saturday night.

Meanwhile ISAF media office in Kabul said they had no reports about the operations in the province. According to the force, the troops had suffered considerable losses over the past one decade during the war on Al Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan.

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