By Shams Jalal
Residents of Nad Ali district on Saturday staged a demonstration against NATO-led troops in Lashkargah, the capital of southern Helmand province.
Around 100 protestors, including elderly men, accused International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) soldiers of killing innocent civilians during operations in the district, whose security recently transitioned to Afghan forces.
Urging public representatives and the government to resolve their problem, one tribal elder claimed Afghan and foreign forces killed his son during a nighttime raid two days back.
Haji Rahimdil insisted his son Mohammad Khan had no links to the militants and hence his inability to find any reason for the operation. Mere suspicion offered no plausible reason for such raids, he remarked.
Another elder, Mullah Karim, told Pajhwok Afghan News the government should put a full stop to night rights if it did not want to further alienate the masses.
Provincial council head Abdul Bari Barakzai said he had shared Nad Ali residents’ problems with security officials. They were working on a strategy for preventing night raids.
Two brothers were captured by ISAF soldiers during a similar raid in Marja town, said Haji Mehboob, who called the night operations a nuisance for peace-loving residents.
Gen. Nazar Ali Wahidi, the Helmand intelligence director, listened to the protestors’ complaints. He said the demonstrators were shown documentary evidence of Mohammad Khan’s connections with the Taliban.
He also showed the protestors Khan’s group photos with some militants, Wahidi said, adding the man was killed during a joint operation after he put up resistance. Khan’s death came a month after his brother Mohammad Bilal Khan was killed in an encounter with security personnel.