KABUL (Pajhwok): Government officials are clueless who is behind the release of a list in which some individuals are named as next target in the ongoing assassination spreewhile the Taliban disowning the list say journalists, reporters and civil society activist are not their targets.
Interior Minister MasodAndarabi said the list was released to confuse minds while some security experts believe the purpose behind releasing the hit list is to create a strong case for migration to foreign countries.
A number of journalists have been killed in the past two months in different parts of Afghanistan.
Yama Syawash, FardinAmini and RafaiSediqi were killed in Kabul, ElyasDaee in Helmand, MalalaMaiwand in Nangarhar, RahmatullahNaikzad in Ghazni and recently Bismillah Adel Aimaq in Ghor province.
In addition, YousufRashidi, Executive Head of the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA), was killed in Kabul and women rights activist FereshtaKohistani was killed in Kapesa province.
Following these targeted attacks, a 100- person list of media persons and civil society activistsstarted circulating in the media. The list has a title ‘The Primary list of Targeted Killing of Abu ObaidaKarwan’, there is no date, signature and source mentioned in the list.
According to reports, earlier First Vice President AmrullahSaleh in his Facebook page wrote that the Taliban after their agreement with the US stopped major attacks in cities and started training a separate group ‘Karwan-e- Abu Obaida’ in Pakistan’s Waziristan District. The new group is tasked with staging targeted attacks in cities, he had added.
Taliban spokesperson ZabihullahMujahiddisowned the 100-person list and said the Kabul intelligence had prepared it to attract world’s attention and use it as propaganda against the Taliban.
He added: “Our targets are clear which are military personnel and their military bases, which are under our watch everywhere and we will eliminate them. Reporters, civil society activists and political figures are not our targets.”
Saleh, however, on his Facebook page wrote today (Tuesday): “A list is circulating in the social media with certain names which the Taliban want to assassinate. We are trying to unearth the source of this psychological war, we have nothing to confirm or reject this list. The Taliban have enmity with every structure and individual under the three color flag.”
Tariq Aryan, spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior, without giving details, said the list was under their evaluation and inspection.
But Interior Minister MasoudAndarabi on Monday told Wolesi Jirga: “I did not find such a list from intelligence sources. Individuals who are under threat have been informed secretly about the threat posed to them. We don’t expect such list on facebook and cannot pretend that everyone should be under threat. Taliban have no such capacity to get this number of individuals under target, we will take steps to stop such movement. This list is not from intelligence sources, it is just to confuse public mind.”
This comes after US Forces Spokesperson Col. Sonny Leggett on his twitter said on Monday: “The Taliban’s campaign of unclaimed attacks and targeted killings of government officials, civil society leaders and journalists must also cease for peace to succeed”
The Taliban in response said: “Mujahideen never targeted civilians instead they defended then against US from the past 20 years. The reality is that the killing of civilians by targeted killings, bombardments, night raids or mortar attacks is only carried out by invaders, such attacks are carried out in the name of Daeshbut in fact done by US generals, Presidential Palace and NDS.”
Such Taliban claims have often been rejected by US forces in Afghanistan and the Presidential Palace.
AtiqullahAmarkhel, a retired military general while referring to the release of the hit list, said such lists were released in Afghanistan due to intelligence weakness.
According to Amarkhel, another purpose of releasing such lists is to pave the way for immigration of some people to developed countries.
He said the Taliban have wise people in their ranks and they would not release such list to tell that they wanted to kill these people. “The Taliban don’t hit such small civilian targets, they have fought major powers in the past 20 years and they better know this way”, said Amarkhel.
The release of the list remains an unproven claim as concerned authorities have not yet identified who released it.
Negative impact of such propaganda
According to Gen. Amarkhel, such disinformation leaves a negative impact on people’s minds.
He added such propaganda caused tension and hampered trust between people and the government and even some people would be forced to leave the country.
He said the government should stop publication of such lists which he said were released due to weakness in intelligence sector.
Five months earlier, another list was released in which some individual were named to be the next target of the Taliban. The list was circulated in the media but no group claimed credit for its publication.
What steps government takes following assassinations?
Ahmad Zia Seraj, head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), on Monday claimed the Taliban were behind targeted attacks. He said there were eight murder cases of journalists and the perpetrators of five cases had been arrested and the remaining three cases were being investigated.
He added attempts to kill three more journalists and reporters in Kabul, Nangarhar and Khost provinces were thwarted. Seraj refused to give more details because security institutions were investigating some of the cases.
Ahmad Shah Erfanyar, Ahmad sohaib
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