By: Mirwais Jalalzai
According to the local police sources in Logar, Maidan Wardak and Ghazni, the Afghan Local Police (ALP forces have not been paid for the last 3 months which has forced some of the local commanders and their staff to start selling their ammunition to the Taliban and some villagers.
Lack of financial resources and food stuff forced the local officers to sale their weapons to insurgents and join the Taliban groups as they were once paid by CIA and Afghan government to fight, say local residents and police sources.
In the village of Saheb Khan, in Andar distract of Ghazni Province, local police say they are on the verge of selling their stockpiles of weapons and join the Taliban if they don’t urgently receive their backdated salaries.
The government called them local police forces but they called them self national uprising forces of the province.
National uprising forces of Ghazni were the first nationwide anti Taliban movement who were led by local people and former Jihad commanders.
US and Afghan government have invested millions to equip and train Afghan Local Police (ALP) in recent 3 years, yet in Ghazni, Logar and Maidan Wardak security officials say they are forced to beg for bread and sell weapons to feed their families.
“In our checkpoint , there are 50 heavy and light arms,” says Akbar Ali Baraki, 52 , the chief of police in central Logar province. “If the central government delays our salaries any further, we will start selling these weapons to get some money to feed our families,” he said.
Akbar says the 45-men he commands will soon desert if the government doesn’t urgently pay backdated salaries. “If nothing good comes their way, they will first sell their ammunition to the Taliban and then they will join Taliban whom they currently fight,” says Akbar despondently.
“We have turned to begging for bread,” says Mohmad Ajan, who has been involved in fierce battles with Taliban insurgents for the last two years in Narkh distract of Maidan Wardak province, but insists “hunger, thirst and the cold” are the most testing enemy he and his colleges has faced now a day.
Many local police in Ghazni, Logar and Maidan Wardak whom we talked with say they will be forced to sell their ammunition and weapons and join the Taliban unless the government urgently pays them.
From other hand the Afghan ministry of interior says reports of mass desertions are exaggerated, with “Reports of weapons being sold and defections to the Taliban are false,” says MOI media relation department in a statement after protest of a group of local police in front of Afghan Parliament in Kabul.
Reports from the ground paint a far grimmer picture.
One Ghazni local police commander says his men have received no salaries “for months” and that ammunition, heavy artillery and supplies have not been delivered as promised by the central government. “If I’d known this day would have come, I would never have made the Taliban a sworn enemy of my family,” says Abdul Jamil Andar , commander of local police in Andar district.
He also accused some former Jihadi leaders who are in contact with the central government for stilling their salaries and other financial sources.
Star says he and the unit he commands are now tainted by their work and are forced to carry on fighting simply to defend their families. More than 120 local police have been killed in clashes with Taliban groups this year alone in Kandahar Province, according to official police figures. Others face daily dangers. “Every single one of these officers receives death threats from the Taliban,” Mohammad told Afghanistan Today.
Analysts believe that, if the central government does not support the local police, and If they don’t receive their salaries on time, there will be no doubt that these local armed personnel will become robbers, or join the Taliban groups.
In the meantime, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) rejected that Afghan Local Police (ALP) forces have started selling their weapons to Taliban in the named provinces, saying that the individuals who claim to be ALP members are in fact belonging to the local militia forces who participated in anti-Taliban public uprising.