MPs warn of heightened security threats over Nawroz

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: A number of members of Wolesi Jirga (the Lower House of Parliament) on Saturday raised concerns over a further deterioration in security over Nawroz (New Year) especially as the current situation is critical. Members of the house said insecurity is widespread and in only one week the bodies of more than 20 security force members have been handed over to their families in Bamiyan province alone.

Parliament speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi also raised concern over next (solar) year’s fighting season, which is fast approaching.  “Predictions show that next year will be a deadly year and that it is good that commissions share their views on the country’s situation with the administrative board,” said Ibrahimi. “The best young forces have been martyred. Only in four days 22 bodies have been handed to their families in Bamiyan,” MP Fakoori Behishti said.

A number of MPs meanwhile said the increase in Taliban attacks was a negative message from the group against government’s recent peace offer. They said disagreements between government leaders is another reason behind the deteriorating security situation.

“Morale has been lost to the extent that many (people) have turned to the Taliban and want to somehow get on board with them,” MP Abdul Rahim said. “Inter-government tension is increasing people’s worries day by day,” MP Keramuddin Reza Zada said. Defense and interior ministries however said in the coming year they will eliminate the insurgent groups around the country.

According to the ministries, they have plans in place for the upcoming fighting season and that insurgents will be forced to come to the peace talks tables or be killed. “We are sure that in the next year (insurgents) have to sit in peace talks with government, or have to die or flee,” defense ministry’s deputy spokesman Mohammad Radmanesh said. “We also have plans for those areas that are far away from the (provincial) capitals and for insurgents who carry out explosions,” interior ministry’s deputy spokesman Nusrat Rahimi said.

Reports indicate that in the last two weeks around 150 security force members have been killed across the country. On a separate matter, a number of MPs said in parliament on Saturday that in the last election for parliament’s administrative board, some MPs handed out money in exchange for votes. They said there had been electoral fraud and that the results should be discredited.

“The election that we had is a stigma in the Afghanistan parliament history,” MP Gul Pacha Majidi said. The administrative board however rejected the claims of fraud in the election and said the allegations were conspiracies to defame parliament. “It is a shame to take bribes and we never do it. We will eat poison, but will not take bribes,” Allah Gul Mujahid, an MP said.

On Saturday, most seats in parliament were empty and only around 40 MPs attended the session. Some of those present sharply criticized the absence of their fellow members and said many MPs only sit in parliament for an election.