Afghan Security Chiefs Answer MPs Questions

Afghanistan’s Minister of Interior Noorulhaq Olomi said on Saturday in parliament that Pakistan’s military operation to oust insurgents from Waziristan was having a detrimental effect on the country’s security as these insurgents were simply being driven across the border.

He said that the Waziristan operation has resulted in “most of the insurgents coming into Afghanistan”.

Olomi’s statement was made during a Question and Answer session in parliament on Saturday. He was among a group of senior security officials summoned by MPs to answer questions on the country’s deteriorating security situation.

In addressing MPs he raised the issue of ongoing battles in the north of the country between insurgents and security forces.

He said that although security forces were eliminating these insurgents, extra militants were being sent in straight away to replace those killed.

On the issue of last week’s parliament attack, Olomi praised security forces and said that government had been aware of a planned attack. But he said they had not known when or how the attack would take place.

He said this was not the first time that an attack had been planned on parliament but that security forces had managed to thwarts attacks in the past.

According to him, currently the various security branches are cooperating and working well together and are sharing information. He said that once a week he holds a meeting with various branches and together they exchange information.

Raising the issue of civilian casualties, he said that this was an area of serious concern for government but that security forces were trying hard to keep civilians safe during operations.

A worrying factor for him was that security forces are still hampered by a shortage of equipment and air support. One example cited was that of equipment needed to defuse and destroy landmines.

However, he said that government has been in discussions with China and other regional countries with regards to this and that they had shown signs that they will help.

Taking the podium after Olomi was the head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) Rahmatullah Nabil.

He said that in just 48 hours, the NDS has carried out 12 operations countrywide.

He said that a few months ago they arrested a man who they could link to a planned parliament attack. Following this arrest, they arrested a further 12 insurgents carrying explosive devices.

He said that following any arrest they try to find out as much information relating to any planned attacks.

He said that at least five or six planned attacks on parliament have been thwarted.

He said however that he was happy to share in depth details on security matters with MPs but said he would not do it before live television cameras.

He did however warn that the security situation looks set to worsen over the next few months. But he emphasized that this does not mean the NDS is not working around the clock to stamp out insurgency.

He said there is an urgent need for the public to support security force operations – such as what is happening in Waigal district in Nuristan. He said locals are assisting security forces in their fight against insurgents.

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