Chechen, Tajik rebels lead Warduj clashes: Official

Security officials in Badakhshan said Wednesday that one of the main goals of insurgents in the area is to bring about the collapse of Warduj district in the northeastern province. In addition, the insurgency is being led by mostly Tajik and Chechen rebels, officials said.

Afghan National Army (ANA) operational commander Hamid Saifi has confirmed the existence of foreign fighters in Warduj, and said their main aim is to take control of the district.

“We will fight and defend the country until the last drop of our blood and we will not let the enemy achieve their nefarious ends,” he said.

Another ANA commander Mohammad Salem said despite insurgents bent on taking control of the district, this will not happen.

“The enemies of Afghanistan have faced heavy damages and their decision to take control of Warduj has failed,” he said.

An Afghan insurgent, who comes from Badakhshan, and now in the custody of the Afghan security forces, said there are many foreign fighters among them fighting the Afghan forces.

“They deceived me. They prevented me from going home for the past year. They told me that I am part of the Taliban and I should stay with them. They deceived me,” the insurgent told TOLOnews.

Badakhshan has made headlines recently due to ongoing turmoil and clashes between Afghan security forces and insurgents.

MPs recently voiced their concerns over the issue with one, Neelofar Ibrahimi, pointing out the complexity of the geopolitical interests behind the turmoil in the province.

“The war in Badakhshan is a regional and intelligence war, and negligence regarding the issue could be harmful to the whole country,” he said.

“Foreign intelligence are working on how to infiltrate Central Asian countries via Badakhshan.”

Other lawmakers and local officials from Badakhshan have also warned in recent weeks about the gravity of the situation in their province, which they say is a clear sign of shift in strategy by insurgents in so far as they have opened up a new front in northern Afghanistan. Over the past month, dozens of
Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers have been killed and hundreds wounded in Badakhshan.

In addition to foreign intelligence operations, an influx of Taliban and foreign militants, Badakhshan also faces a major issue in armed illegal mining mafias, according to Badakshan University Rector Khusro Nazari. “We shouldn’t fear anyone and need to talk frankly about all aspects of the instability,” he said.

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