RAWA.org, July 19, 2016
Cruelties and crimes of warlords in Takhar province
After John Kerry made the national “terror” government, Pirum Qul gained new life with Dostum’s support
On July 13, 2016, the people of Rostaq district of Takhar province protested against the crimes and savagery of warlords under the leadership of Pirum Qul (supported by Abdul Rashid Dostum) once more. Pirum Qul’s gunmen opened fire on the peaceful protest and injured a number of people, but the people are fed up and have sworn to continue their struggle against the current situation. The people of Rostaq have a long history of standing against oppression and criminality.
But what is happening in Rostaq and why are the people so fed up? I was in Rostaq, my birthplace, for a few days. I will briefly write what I witnessed in the main city and surrounding areas so I can show with a few examples the hell that is the area.
During Karzai’s time, there were several uprisings against the criminal domination of Pirum Qul in Rostaq which saved people from his gang. He had lost his reputation and power and almost left Rostaq, abusing and insulting him in streets and mosques had become a norm. Then during the fraudulent 2014 presidential elections, Pirum Qul and Subhan Qul joined Ashraf Ghani’s campaign and Pirum Qul was constantly seen next to Dostum throughout the campaign. After John Kerry made the national “terror” government, Pirum Qul gained new life with Dostum’s support. He began supporting his Arbaki (militia) groups and returned to Rostaq with his gangsters. The murderous Dostum has returned to northern Afghanistan, apparently to lead the war against the Taliban, but actually to rebuild his rogue militia. Dostum distributed thousands of weapons among his supporters in several provinces, and Pirum Qul being one of his dogs, received these arms, and armed each and every one of his criminal militiamen. This has made the lives of the people of Rostaq unbearable.
Militias belonging to commander Aynuddin Bagh Hesari, Pirum Qul’s father-in-law.
Latif Siah, Pirum Qul’s brother-in-law.
Mohammad Amin Bagh Hesari (right).
On June 23, I started for Rostaq from Taloqan. The driver and passengers were deeply worried about the situation and had no hope for a better future because the savage hounds of powerful warlords attacked them and their belongings every day, and they did not trust the government either. All of them feared Pirum Qul and his men’s crimes and expressed their pain and sorrow over the situation. They said they did not remember a single night where they had slept peacefully, the sounds of gunfire, cries of the victims, and fear, had stolen their peace. Every passenger had his own sad tale. There was not a glimpse of happiness on anyone’s face. Throughout the trip, a heavy silence hung over the car.
The very first moment I reached Rostaq, I noticed that the city had changed drastically. Armed men with horrifying appearances roamed about and the deep hatred of the inhabitants towards these brutes could be felt clearly. The city was empty and silent because the people avoided coming to the city because of the thugs.
All the areas of Rostaq and the surrounding villages have been divided between Piram Qul’s murderous groups. Some of the areas and their rulers are as follow:
1- Gogari, Sokhta Qala, Hazrat Shah, Chawke Shahr, and some other areas belong to Zamane Gurg Ali, Pirum Qul’s brother-in-law. He has several private prisons where he takes shopkeepers and other innocent people for extortion. For example, some time back he wanted to take money from Momin Sarghari so he sent five armed men to his shop. Since Momin himself was not present, the armed men tried to take his teenage son, Khalil, with them. The boy took the rifle they had kept in the shop and fired at them, severely injuring two people. The other men panicked and shot the boy’s foot and ran away. The injured were transferred to Taloqan for treatment and with Pirum Qul’s men’s interference, an official complaint was not filed and the media was not informed about the incident.
2- Payan Qale Guzar, Jar Yakhdan, and Dare Shorak, belong to Latif Sayar, another one of Pirum Qul’s men. All of Latif’s men are younger than eighteen years. These young boys, who have grown their hair and have unkempt appearances, are usually sexually abused by Latif’s commanders. They frequently stop people and force them to give money.
3- The upper part of Rostaq city till Payan Qala and several villages, are under the domination of Aynuddin Bagh Hesari, Pirum Qul’s father-in-law, who is famous for his crimes and killings. He was imprisoned for some time in connection with the killing of 8-year-old Najibullah, son of Haleem, but now has the highest number of armed men. Some time back, Bagh Hesari killed a man named Wakil Aynuddin, a member of the provincial council, and is busy in forcibly taking money from the people. According to the local people, he has recently bought two Hilux cars which he uses to smuggle heroin. No government official has more power over him. Because these murderers have become armed and powerful through the corrupt puppet government, the people of the area have no hope and expectation from the government or its foreign backers.
4- Shahre Kohna, Guzar Qala, Guzare Charm Gari, Guzare Hazara Ha, and some other areas are under the control of Amin Bagh Hesari who similarly extorts and loots people.
5- Khanaqa, Samar Ghayan, Langar Aabi, and other villages belong to commander Bakhshullah. He loots and extorts just like the other commanders, only he has put a water tax of 500 Afghanis (7 USD) which has never been done before. Many poor people in the area don’t have the means to pay this and are extremely fed up with this tax.
It is worth mentioning that the above areas fall under Rostaq city and the surrounding areas. According to the people, in the more isolated villages, the situation is much worse.
The governor, district chief, police chief, and other high-ranking officials have no authority outside their offices. Moreover they partner with Pirum Qul and his armed commanders out of fear. Pirum Qul has the ultimate authority in all the government offices, and has removed experienced and popular officials and replaced them with his infamous brutes.
This is only a corner of the terrible situation in Rostaq, but we can understand what the oppressed people of all the provinces of Afghanistan experience every day, how they burn in insecurity and poverty, and have no hope for being rescued or for their future.
Originally published on July 13, 2016
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