PUL-I-KHUMRI (Pajhwok): Some provincial council (PC) members said on Saturday the Dand-i-Ghori locality of Pul-i-Khumri, the capital of northern Baghlan province, has turned into a Taliban training and recruitment centre.
Dand-i-Ghori is two kilometres from the provincial capital with a population of 3,000 people and encompasses 30 villages. The area has been in Taliban control over the past eight months.
Back in July, Taliban fired at least 12 rockets from the area into Pul-i-Khumri, killing two people and wounding 10 others.
Mohammad Gulab Mangal, the borders and tribal affairs minister, who traveled to Baghlan last summer, had said 25 civilians, including women and children, were killed and scores others wounded in two months of clashes between security forces and insurgents in Dand-i-Ghori and nearby Dehna Ghori district.
PC member Shamsul Haq Barakzai said Taliban had established training centers in Khandari Qashlaq and some other localities of Dand-i-Ghori.
He said they had conveyed their message to the authorities concerned about the situation, but there had been no effective response.
Barakzai warned if the government did not launch a major operation to dismantle insurgent training centers and other facilities, the Taliban would capture Pul-i-Khumri until spring.
Mohammad Hanif Kahgadai, another PC member, termed the establishment of Taliban’s training and recruitment centers against the agreement inked between the presidential delegation and local elders. He said the agreement was indeed giving the Taliban freedom to continue their activities.
Earlier some other members of the Baghlan provincial council and residents had claimed the government has surrendered Dand-i-Ghori to Taliban under the agreement.
But Gulab Mangal, who headed the government delegation to the area, had said the agreement had been signed with local tribal elders, not the insurgents.
According to the pact, no attacks would be carried out in the area and if someone did so, local residents would standby security forces. As part of the agreement, security forces would not arrest anyone without permission of tribal elders.