World Bulletin / News Desk
The powerful security chief of Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province said Friday that Taliban leaders willing to join the peace process have been provided with special security in so-called safe zones.
Addressing a gathering in the provincial capital Kandahar, Gen. Abdul Raziq said at least 10 Afghan Taliban leaders who returned from Pakistan, and have given up on armed rebellion, have been provided with residence in these safe zones.
“We have provided the environment for those Taliban who do not want to live under the control of [Pakistan’s] Punjabis and for those who return to their country and start a peaceful life in their districts and provinces, regardless of their status. We have established a safe zone for them and they can live there with their people,” local Tolo TV quoted Raziq as saying.
Last month the Taliban announced yet another year of offensives in clear defiance of calls for peace.
Kandahar is the birthplace of the Taliban movement, and the core leadership of the insurgency is still with the commanders hailing from this part of the country. Since 2011 when Gen. Abdul Raziq, who is also accused of extra-judicial killings, took charge as security chief, Kandahar has been at relative peace.
In January Raziq narrowly survived a blast caused by an improvised device planted inside the governor’s house in which a number of officials died, including six diplomats from the United Arab Emirates.
With the death of Mullah Omar, the late Taliban leader who was pronounced dead in 2015, the group has split into factions. A major pro-peace talk faction is led by Mullah Akhtar. Some 20 militants died during in-fighting among Taliban factions in the Herat province on Wednesday.
In his speech, Raziq further said the Chaman-Spin Boldak crossing point with Pakistan would remain closed until a dispute over the status of a disputed village that caused deadly clashes between the border guards of the two countries last week is resolved. This crossing point in the south has been closed since last Friday.
Last Mod: 12 Mayıs 2017, 23:40