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Tajiks account for 78pc of Anti-Riot Force

Tajiks account for 78pc of Anti-Riot Force

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Nov 23, 2017 - 18:58

KABUL (Pajhwok): Two officials have been suspended and five others are being interrogated over a leaked letter that asks for the recruitment of personnel from ethnic groups except Tajiks to the Anti-Riot Force.

Seventy-eight percent of the Anti-Riot Force (ARF) personnel, including the Public Order Police (POP), are from the Tajik community.

The letter demands personnel from other ethnicities should be recruited to the forces to ensure balance and social justice. Five individuals are being interrogated while the POP commander and chief of staff -- both Tajiks -- have been suspended.

Formation of the Anti-Riot Force

Documents received by Pajhwok Afghan News show that former interior minister Taj Mohammad Jahid in July this year suggested to the Presidential Place the creation of Anti-Riot Force units.

Jahid had proposed the creation of a 500-member Anti-Riot Force in Kabul, a 100-member force at the police headquarters in the seven zones and a 50-member force in POP units in 26 provinces.

The president approved the suggestion three days later. In line with the presidential orders, no foreigners could be recruited into this force. “Approved with the context and attached schedule from the structure of Interior Ministry’s POP.”

But a letter issued from the headquarters of Kabul’s first Brigade says: “In line with the presidential orders, the Anti-Riot Force comprised of 500 personnel has been formed.”

The letter asked that a list of officers and staff sergeants should be prepared within 24 hours. Members of Hazara, Uzbek, Pashtun and Tajik communities are excluded from this process.”

The presidential orders regarding ARF formation said nothing about the ethnic structure of the force.

A reliable source, whishing anonymity, confided to Pajhwok Afghan News the name of POP commander -- a Tajik -- had been written in the letter, without his signature.

“Director Pezhand Col. Mohammad Qavi, who arranged the letter and signed it, is a Tajik resident of Kabul, Chief of Staff Brig. Gen. Syed Hassan Ali Hassanzada Sadaat also signed the letter,” he revealed.

The official said 78 percent of the 500-strong Anti-Riot Force personnel functioning within the framework of the 101st Azmayee Zone were Tajiks.

The source claimed the Tajik tribe’s representation in the force was never ignored as they had strong presence in it.

Pajhwok has learnt the president has tasked a team of representatives from the Interior Ministry’s military attorney generals, intelligence personnel and investigators to investigate the issue.

Disclosure of the letter has sparked an outrage. A letter issued on November 21 by the office of the first deputy interior ministry indicated investigation by the delegation resulted in the suspension of POP Commander Lt. Gen. Abdul Fatah and POP Chief of Staff Syed Ahmad Ali.

POP Pezhand Director Col. Abdul Qavi, First Brigade Communication head Mael Agha, Battalion chief Mohammad Aman and Deputy Director Mohiuddin and General Directorate officer Col Abdul Hayee are being investigated since Nov 22.

According to the source, of the seven officials under interrogation one belonged to Sadaat and the remaining to the Tajik community.

The percentage of Tajiks is high in the POP -- an issue raised at a time when half of the force personnel are Tajiks.

The source revealed the actual POP strength is 13,049, with 12,357 positions currently filled.

“I hope media will cooperate on dissemination of these documents and reflecting the facts in order to avoid disturbance of public minds and politicising the issue,” the sources added.

The Interior Ministry called the issue a typing error. Minister Wais Barmak said: “I want to assure the people the ministry under my leadership will move in a professional direction.”

nh/mud

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