Reported civilian deaths in Behsud to be probed

KABUL (Tolo News): The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) said it will assess reports of civilian deaths in clashes in the Behsud district in Maidan Wardak province that erupted during a protest in the district. “Our probe is underway. There are claims about harm to civilians. We are collecting information. We hope to find the reality and share it with the people,” said Zabihullah Farhang, a media official of the commission.

The Interior Ministry said the protestors were resisting new appointments at the police headquarters in the district. Behsud residents said that at least 40 people were killed and wounded in the incident, but the Interior Ministry said that nine people were killed. The ministry said that a probe team has been assigned and will travel to the province. But the trip of the team was delayed.

“A team has been assigned to look into the details of the incident,” Maidan Wardak governor Abdul Rahman Tariq said. The Ministry of Interior Affairs said the fighting erupted after armed men loyal to a local commander, Alipoor, started fighting with security forces, but Alipoor in a voice message to TOLOnews rejected the claim and said the security forces opened fire on the protestors. “It was a civil protest, but they opened fire on the people. Sixty people were near their tanks. This itself is a war crime,” Alipoor said.

“We should find out the reasons behind the fighting. Anyone who has fueled the fighting should be held responsible,” said Lal Gul Lal, head of the human rights organization of Afghanistan based in Kabul. Meanwhile, Mohammad Mohaqiq, President Ghani’s adviser on national security, warned that he will stand against the issue if the incident is not assessed justly. “We will wait. If it is assessed justly, we will be satisfied, if there is injustice, we will have a say,” Mohaqiq said. Abdul Ghani, known as Commander Alipoor, is a local commander in Behsud district in Maidan Wardak. He has many times supported public uprising forces’ campaign against the Taliban in Daikundi, Ghor, Ghazni and Maidan Wardak province.

In 2018, he was in security forces custody and when he was released, he signed a commitment letter with the government in November 2018 and committed to being ready to respond to allegations against him and added that he “will register all weapons” with the government or hand them in.