Conflicts & War

Arming Afghan civilians will intensify conflict, Taliban warn

Kabul, Jun 29 (EFE).- The Taliban said on Tuesday that the recent enlisting and arming of thousands of civilians in Afghanistan, as part of efforts to check the insurgents’ offensive while the international troops withdraw from the country, will only intensify the conflict.

The majority of the armed civilians are being enlisted under the command of former warlords who had fought against the Soviet invasion in the 1980’s and the civil war during the subsequent decade, while the Afghan government has announced military support for the initiative.

“You could not do anything when armed forces of 50 countries were fighting alongside you, then now also you will not be able to do anything,” senior Taliban leader Mullah Amir Khan Mutaqi said in an audio message on Tuesday,

He insisted that the taking up of arms by civilians was linked to the “personal interests” of the warlords and will turn villages into battlefields.

“Now there are hundreds of Mujahidins (fighters) in every village and valley (…) and no one can stand against them,” said Mutaqi, adding that the civilian militias of the past had been a failed experiment.

He was referring to the failed resistance by the warlords in the 1990’s when the Taliban was fighting to take control of the state after the fall of the communist regime.

In recent weeks, thousands of civilian have taken up arms against the insurgents in the country.

The leaders who have agreed to mobilize militias to fight the Taliban include former Tajik commander Atta Mohammad Noor, Uzbek leader Abdul Rashid Dostum and a leader of the Hazara minority Muhammad Mohaqiq.

The Afghan government has promised to help the militias with weapons, ammunition and funding.

Kabul has turned to enlisting civilians after the Taliban launched unprecedented attacks since the beginning of May and captured nearly 80 district headquarters in different parts of the country, their biggest advance in such a short time.

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