Afghanistan

Kabulis express different
views about search operation

Written by The Frontier Post

KABUL (Pajhwok): Residents of capital Kabul said the ongoing search operation was a good step towards maintaining security and that they were satisfied with the behavior of security forces, while some others were unsatisfied and said only suspected houses should be checked.
Monday was the fouth day of a search operation in some areas of Kabul and some other nearby provinces of the country. A spokesman for the Islamic Emirate, ZabihullahMujahid, said the operation was aimed at capturing and eliminating “all kinds of thieves, kidnappers, evil elements and other criminals” who have previously been identified and chased.
Pajhwok Afghan News spoke to people whose homes had been searched in different parts of Kabul. People say some houses were searched superficially, but others searched thoroughly. Azizullah, a resident of Nawi Khwaja Baghra area of Kabul’s 15th police district, said that female police officers accompanied security forces during the operation and local representatives were coordinated and present in the area.
However, he said that his house was searched but there were no policewomen with the security forces during the operation. “Two of my brothers were in the army of the previous government. Their pictures were hanging on walls of our room. They searched our house a lot. They checked blankets, cupboards, boxes, the yard, mattresses and everything. They even broke the box of my sister, which keys were missing,” he said.
He said his brothers had old military uniforms at home and security forces collected them. Security forces were checking these houses in the presence of house owners, he said, adding that security forces should not enter people’s houses without the court order.
“Such searches spread a kind of fear among children, mothers and people. What does it mean to search everyone’s home? The search should be done based on the guilt of people,” he said. Abdullah, a resident of Parwan-i-Seh area of Kabul, said that his house was also searched. “They did not misbehave, but searched our house a lot, looked in the cupboards, and everything. There were no weapons or other harmful things in our house, they searched and left,” he said.
He said there were no women with the security forces during the search of their house and the women of his family gathered in one room and they searched other parts of his house. Abdullah said that the search was good for security, but added the government should search only suspected houses.
Abdul Qayyum, a resident of Qabil Bay area of ninth police district of Kabul, said his house was also searched by security forces in the presence of local representative, a tribal elder and a female police officer. He was happy from the behavior of security forces but said, “The search that is currently being carried out by the Islamic Emirate is creating a mess in houses, such searches should be stopped that create disorder.”
However, a resident of Bagrami area of Kabul, Mohammad Khalid said, “The security guards were divided into groups, three people came to our house, first opened the door of the guest house and looked up and down through the same door. They did not enter the room, they did not touch anything, we opened two bedrolls to check them inside, they also asked about some small things and then left the house.” Syed Azim, a resident of Aminabad area of Kabul, also said that security forces searched his house.
“They came to our house, our women stayed in one room, but there were no female police officers with them. They entered our house and searched the house in five minutes. It was not a serious search like we feared,” he said. He said that security forces were behaving very good and he was present during the whole search of his house.
Azim said that disarmament of people was a great step for the security in the country. “When the former government collapsed, a lot of people stole a lot of things, they hid everything including weapons, we were tired of powerful figures in the past, so the weapons should be collected and handed over to the government,” he said.
People have to be patient, if the people do not support the government, they will continue to suffer from powerful figures like they did in the past, he said. Sediqullah Samar, a resident of Hotkhel area said, “Our house was knocked two days ago, when I went to the door, they told us with good behavior that they want to search the house, they entered our house, saw my bicycle and the yard, they understood that I am a poor man and skimmed through all the things.”
However, he said that some of the houses were searched extensively and also checked the houses of people who have jobs in army. They also discovered weapons and military equipment from some houses, he said. “A few days ago before the operation started, an armed group of robbers was shown up in Hotkhel who were posing as government people, they were robbing people’s houses. I am happy for the operation because it would stop thieves and criminals,” he said.
Before the operation began, the government said in a statement that the operation was aimed at providing better security to all the people in the country. The Ministry of Interior (MoI) said in a statement that a clearing operationwas launched in Kabul to ensure security in the city.
Earlier, the Taliban are conducting a huge security sweep of Kabul and other Afghan cities, their spokesman said, going house-to-house in search of weapons and criminals blamed for a recent spate of robberies and kidnappings. The operation, which started, has alarmed many who fear being targeted because of their association with the previous Western-backed regime or the US-led foreign forces who finally withdrew on August 31.
Some irate residents posted videos on social media showing homes they said had been trashed during Taliban searches, but several people told AFP their encounters had been polite and cursory. “It was just my nephew at home when they came and they made a big mess,” said one resident, who asked not to be named, showing AFP a series of pictures that revealed considerable disruption.
The Taliban called the sweep a “clearing operation”. “We are trying to take steps against those kidnappers, thieves and looters who have weapons in their hands and threaten the lives of the people,” spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told a news conference. He said authorities had discovered two kidnap victims during the operation, and also freed two teenage girls who they found chained in a basement.
Mujahid said light and heavy weapons, explosives, radio equipment and drones had been seized, as well as vehicles belonging to the military or government. Six people suspected of being members of the ISIL (ISIS) group had been arrested, he said, along with nine kidnappers and 53 “professional thieves”.
“We want to assure the residents of Kabul that these operations are not against the common people,” Mujahid said. “The residents of the city should be confident the search is going on carefully.” The Taliban have also stepped up street patrols in the capital and established temporary roadblocks at key intersections, where they search vehicles at random or check the identities of those inside.
Dozens of newly trained policewomen were involved in the sweep in case there were no men at houses being searched, Mujahid said. Social media showed images and video clips of doors and wardrobes that had been bashed in, cushions and mattresses slashed open, and belongings strewn across floors. “The intimidations, house searches, arrests and violence against members of different ethnic groups and women are crimes and must stop immediately,” tweeted Andreas von Brandt, the European Union’s ambassador to Afghanistan.
“Despite Putin’s war we are watching you,” he added, referring to the Russian invasion of Ukraine that has dominated news cycles for the past few days. “Focus on securing Europe from Putin,” replied Muhammad Jalal, a Taliban official with a prolific social media presence. “Afghans know what they are doing.”

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The Frontier Post