Mohammad Asif Mohmand, a member of the Balkh provincial council, held a press conference in Kabul on Thursday afternoon and claimed he was "badly beaten" while in the custody of Balkh governor Atta Mohammad Noor.
Mohmand was reportedly arrested by security forces on arrival at Mawlana Jalaluddin Balkhi International Airport in Mazar-e-Sharif city late Tuesday night after an hours-long standoff between his supporters and security forces.
Mohmand was released on Thursday and immediately returned to Kabul where he held a press conference.
Mohmand claimed at the press conference that he was “badly beaten” by Noor, his sons and his bodyguard while allegedly in the governor’s custody.
“His (Atta Mohammad Noor’s) son caught my ear with his teeth and tore it off completely. His other son (Noor’s son) hit here (pointing to his face); his father (Noor himself) beat me badly,” claimed Mohmand.
“One of his (Noor’s) bodyguards named Parwiz said shoot him (Mohmand) with a gun. My hands were tied. He (Parwiz) hit the back of my head with his gun and injured my head. My injuries (to my face) were bandaged by the National Directorate of Security (personnel); I have not bandaged them,” he added.
Mohmand went on to say: “When he (Parwiz) hit my head, I was left unconscious. Ustad Atta (Atta Mohammadi Noor) put his leg on my neck.”
However, the Balkh governor’s spokesman Munir Ahmad Farhad rejected the claims and said they stem from “personal enmity from Mohmand.”
“It is laughable and is not logical,” he said.
Meanwhile, Gul Rahman Hamdard, the son of Juma Khan Hamdard, former governor of Paktia, rejected claims by the Balkh governor’s office that Hamdard’s militia had tried to prevent the arrest of Mohmand at Balkh airport on Tuesday.
“Let’s conduct an open dialogue and make it clear that the persons who are those fighting against the government in Chamtal, Koh-e-Alborz and Chalborak (districts) in Balkh,” he said.
A number of Balkh residents meanwhile said the current tension over the situation is not benefiting the people and could affect security in the county.
“This issue should be solved peacefully in order to boost security in Mazar city,” said Zubair, a resident of Balkh.
“This issue should be investigated impartially and fairly,” said Omid, another resident of Balkh.
This comes after a fact-finding team from the Presidential Palace was sent to the province on Wednesday and met with the Balkh governor to talk about the issue.
The nine-member team was led by the deputy attorney general of Afghanistan.
Mohmand was arrested late Tuesday night at Balkh international airport by Afghan security forces on charges including forgery of government documents and corruption.
However, a lack of clarity has prevailed as to who issued an arrest warrant. The attorney general's office has denied having done so.
“This person (Mohmand) was being monitored by one of our attorneys from last year in connection with a case, the suspect appeared for investigation and the investigation team got the necessary information needed, however the attorney general has not issued any kind of arrest warrant for him,” AGO spokesman Jamshid Rasuli said on Wednesday.
But in a live interview with TOLOnews on Thursday night, Mohmand said he had been arrested by Noor’s guards and “tortured inside the governor’s house.”
Munir Farhad, Atta Noor’s spokesman, rejected Mohmand’s claims. Also in an interview with TOLOnews, he said all Mohmand’s allegations are baseless and there was no truth to this.
He also stated that Mohmand had fled Balkh due to charges against him.
Meanwhile elders from Mohmand's tribe gathered in Kabul on Wednesday over the arrest.
“Unfortunately one of the guards of Asif Mohmand was killed in the incident and four others were wounded, we have also wounded persons among the security forces, this was a bitter event and we strongly condemn the incident," said Mohammad Yaqoub Mohmand, head of the Mohmand tribal council.
Mohmand was accused of forging signatures on documents of government officials by the Afghan legal and judicial institutions.