ANA soldiers accused of harassing civilians

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Some residents of central Maidan Wardak province have accused Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers of harassing and misbehaving with innocent civilians.

Matiullah, a resident of the Kashmir Qala area of Maidan Shahar, told Pajhwok Afghan News soldiers on the Kabul-Kandahar highway harassed passengers and locals.

Two days back, a roadside landmine hit an ANA vehicle in the area, he recalled. After the blast, the man alleged, the army opened fire into crops and forests, caring two hoots about civilian casualties.

He added: “After the blast, the troops came to our village and beats up the people, including children. They also misbehaved with the elderly, asking why the landmines had been planted here.”

Zafar Khan, another inhabitant, echoed Matiullah’s views and said after the explosion, the ANA soldiers ruthlessly thrashed his 13-year-old brother in front of his mother.

“My mother cried a lot but they didn’t care and continued beating my brother. The soldiers told my mother they had got her son’s number. If it happens again, we will shoot him,” he claimed.

Both men said the same day the ANA personnel entered a house of Fazal Rahman without permission and fired rockets and machine guns, scaring women and children in the house.

They also accused the soldiers of warning them of severe punishment in case they complained to provincial authorities. Matiullah said: “We invite the government to hang us if we commit any crime. However, it must prevent the harassment of ordinary people.” Provincial Council member Sharifullah Hotak, meanwhile, confirmed the allegations. A security meeting was held in the city. The issue was shared with the ANA commander here.

“The commander acknowledged the problem and apologised, promising the practice would not recur and the soldiers involved will be transferred,” the public representative said. But Abdul Rahman Mangal, the governor’s spokesman, said they had not received any complaint in this regard. No one had the right to harass common people and those involved in such misconduct would be punished, he promised.

Brig. Gen. Mohammad Radmanish, spokesman for the Ministry of Defence, said they had not received any complaint in this regard. The ministry had trained soldiers to behave well, he continued.

Referring to the Maidan Wardak incident, the MoD spokesman said: “We will control the soldiers. If they still harass common people, they will be punished.”