First Vice-President Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum on Tuesday headed to Qush Tapa district of northern Jawzjan province from the provincial capital along with thousands of troops to conduct clearing operations against Talibaninfo-icon militants there.
Before departing for Qush Tapa district, Gen. Dostum told his supporters and military officers that his first step would be to avenge beheaded troops by the Taliban.
In his address to the troops, Dostum said: “I strongly direct you to protect people’s lives and properties which is the basic aim of this operation.”
asked the forces to be kind to Taliban prisoners and treat them like war prisoners. Pointing to his military dress, Dostum said he was not donning the uniform to deceive people, but he would either free the country from violence with the uniform or would make it his pall.
He said he had prepared 10,000 troops including militias for operations in Faryab, Sar-i-Pul and Jawzjan provinces.
A participant of the operations and member of the public uprising, Abdul Hai, said: “We want to start our operations against Taliban right now.”
He said the Taliban were intimidating people in villages and forced them into paying money and offering food. Now it was their turn to pay the price, he said.
Jawzjan Governor Lotfullah Azizi said the Taliban had blocked the road leading to Qush Tapa district over the past one week, creating problems for commuters.
He said Gen. Dostum shunned a foreign trip and arrived in Shiberghan to organize the forces for operations against the Taliban.
He said the troops had moved into Qush Tapa to clear the district from the presence of insurgents.
Qush Tapa is about 90 kilometres west of Shiberghan City. Clashes between security forces and Taliban insurgents have been ongoing in the district over the past one week, with both sides suffering casualties.
Civilians have also suffered casualties as a result of the clashes that have displaced hundreds of families to other areas. Gen. Dostum previously spearheaded operations in Darzab district of Jawzjan and Almar and Qaiser district of Frayab against Taliban and recaptured the said areas from the rebels.
But after the forces had left, the insurgents staged a comeback and recaptured areas they had lost to the security forces.