JALALABAD (PAN): There has been an upsurge in insurgent activity in four districts of eastern Nangarhar province, where the rebels have established check-posts, officials say.
Taliban have stepped up operations in Hesarak, Pachiragam, Shirzad and Chaparhar districts, police chief Brig. Gen. Abdullah Stanikzai, told a press conference in Jalalabad, the provincial capital.
The fighters disembarked government employees from vehicles and planted roadside bombs, which the police chief called a big challenge for security forces. He claimed the militants had no courage to enter a face-to-face fight with security forces.
Stanikzai said five policemen who went missing on Jalalabad-Hesarak highway a week ago were yet to be found. He asked people of the province to rise against the guerrillas and work with security forces to clear their areas.
He rejected reports that police had failed to bust a kidnap gang active in Jalalabad and said a contingent of 40 Quake Reaction Force members had been tasked with removing tinted glasses from vehicles.
The police chief said a 1,500-member local police force would be deployed to some districts soon as 26 vehicles and weapons had already arrived at the police headquarters for the force.
He also rejected reports that hundreds of Waziristani Taliban had sneaked into Shirzad, Khogyani and Hesarak districts as unfounded propaganda aimed at weakening people’s morale.
But Hesarak district chief Haji Abdul Khaliq Maroof said hundreds of rebels, most of them Waziristanis, had entered the town and they were equipped with heavy weapons.
Hesarak development council head Dr. Mohammad Naeem told Pajhwok Afghan News about 600 foreign militants had arrived in the district, forcing residents into giving them meals.
Tribal elder Malik Faizullah Omar from Chaparhar district claimed 80 percent of the town was insecure, and that nobody knew who controlled it.
He said the district and police chiefs had not been able to go out of their offices, saying the provincial administration had lost its credibility and the situation would persist until fundamental changes were brought to administrative affairs.