KABUL: Afghanistan’s defence ministry has begun ordering soldiers who have families in Pakistan to move them to Afghanistan in a bid to rid the army of Taliban infiltrators, officials said Saturday.
The new policy was crafted in response to a recent spate of incidents in which Afghan soldiers reportedly with links to militants carried out attacks against Nato troops.
“We have been told to ask our soldiers who have relatives in Pakistan to move them to Afghanistan,” Abdul Hamid Hamid, the army corps commander in Kandahar, told AFP, adding that the policy was not yet finalised.
“Sometimes their families are used as hostages by some intelligence agencies to put pressure on them to do what they don’t want to,” he said.
Most of the soldiers who are recruited in Kandahar have families in Pakistan, he added.
The militants, who are believed to have sanctuaries in Pakistan, have waged an increasing insurgency against the US-backed Afghan government and foreign forces.
“We have put up more strict rules in enlisting the new recruits. Those who have families in Pakistan are checked more seriously,” ministry of defence spokesman Daulat Waziri said.
Afghan counterintelligence officials have already compiled lists of soldiers with ties to Pakistan. In some parts of the country, soldiers on the list have been told: Move or leave the army.
“We’ve told them, ‘If you can’t move your families, you’ll be kicked out,’ ” said Col. Abdul Shokor, the top Afghan counterintelligence official in the Afghan army’s 205th Corps, the Washington Postreported.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2012.
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