US-funded militia to be expanded in Afghanistan’s Helmand province: Mangal

February 18th, 2011 - 7:07 pm ICT by ANI  

Taliban Kabul, Feb 18 (ANI): Golab Mangal, the Governor of Helmand province in Afghanistan, has said that the US-funded militia would be expanded in his province to strengthen its ongoing fight against the Taliban.

The US is now funding about 800 local armed groups of civilians, which makes them a larger force than the official police, amidst concerns about their accountability, the BBC reports.

“I give my people full assurances. The moment these local forces mistreat people or fail to obey the law, they’ll be dealt with. There’ll be strict control of them. Their job is only to look after the security of their own areas. They don’t have any other responsibilities, like running checkpoints or search operations. That’s the job of the national police,” Mangal said.

Many critics, however, believe that the militia have apparently been infiltrated by the Taliban.

Earlier, Western media reports had also claimed that the programmes might be reduced because of concerns about their growing influence and lack of accountability, the report said.

Mangal said that although local armed groups have been successful in Helmand, the possibility of infiltration cannot be ruled out as the militia might include people from areas which sympathise with the militants.

He further warned that the recruitment process of militias should be strict to prevent apparent pro-militant individuals in the group from carrying out anti-social activities in the country. (ANI)

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