Officials say the number of militants fighting security forces in Samangan, Balkh, Jawzjan, Sar-e-Pul and Faryab provinces is estimated to be around 7,000.
600 Foreign Fighters Sent To Northern Provinces: Police
General Baba Jan, the commander of 707 Pamir Police Unit, on Wednesday said that up to 600 foreign fighters and their families have moved in to some provinces in the northern parts of the country.
According to Baba Jan, the total number of militants fighting security forces in Samangan, Balkh, Jawzjan, Sar-e-Pul and Faryab provinces is estimated to be around 7,000.
He said the Afghan security forces are determined to clear insurgent hideouts in the northern zone next spring in order to prevent any further advancement.
“Up to 600 foreign militants and their families are in our area of responsibility,” said Baba Jan. However, no details as to the origins of these fighters were given.
Foreign militants are deployed in Kohistanat, Balcharagh, Garizwan, Ghormach and Dawlat Abad districts of Sar-e-Pul and Faryab where they frequently engage in armed confrontation with security forces, he said.
Baba Jan said some police commanders have handed over their weapons to some powerful elements in the north in a bid to secure their own survival.
Investigations are underway to regain these weapon and to identify those involved, he added.
“Some of our commanders provided weapons and vehicles to powerful persons for their own survival and now they are not able to take them back, it is a major violation,” said Baba Jan.
Meanwhile, civil society activists in Balkh have also raised deep concerns over drug smuggling in the northern regions of the country.
“There are some elements who exploit families of those addicted to drugs,” said civil society activist Abdul Hamid Sefwat.
“When they get the men addicted to drugs, then the smugglers ask them for their daughters in exchange for heroin,” he added.
There are huge concerns among the people in Balkh that the security will further deteriorate in the northern regions of the country if government does not take solid action against drug smugglers and take back the weapons handed over to powerful persons.