PAN, March 25, 2012

Local militia seen behind Ghor insecurity

By Obaid Ghori

Additional local militia personnel would be recruited and deployed to western Ghor province to strengthen security there, officials say. But locals and provincial council members regard local militias a source of insecurity.

Governor Abdullah Hiwad recently told media that President Hamid Karzai had agreed to raising and deploying an additional 1000-member militia to the province. He said the president had promised completing the process this solar year.

However, provincial council members and officials believe militias cause unrest and fuel insecurity instead of brining relief to the people. They prefer national police to the local police force.

Shah Muhammad, a resident of Shahrak district, said a militia is comprised of local people and illegal armed commanders. “People appointed as militiamen are relatives of armed commanders who use them to have influence and control in the area.”

Muhammad added illegal armed commanders had differences with tribes in the province, where 20 people were killed last year in clashes between rival commanders.

Abdul Rauf, another resident, said illegal commanders were in control of local militias in districts. “An increase in their strength means an increase in insecurity and people’s concerns about the force, which can turn against the government as well.”

He said they needed national army and police for security because they were trustworthy and loyal.

Several public representatives voice opposition to increase in number of local militia as they see it the source of insecurity.

Provincial council chief Ramazan Qasimi said militia groups created differences among tribes and could destabilise the province.

“Since illegal commanders control areas, they misuse militias to their own benefit and interest and against each other,” Ramazan said. He urged the government to deploy army and police personnel to the province.

Provincial police chief, Col. Khudayar Qudsi, also acknowledged the local militia had not been effective in maintaining security. He called for strengthening national police and army.

He said 1,200 policemen could not provide security for the entire province, keeping in view its geographical location and the existence of militants.

The governor’s spokesman, Abdulhai Khatibi, said local police was a government force aimed at improving security in the province, where 130 illegal armed groups operate.

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