Senior Afghan and US officials on Thursday visited Paktia to assess security situation as well as the claims of civilian casualties in a government forces operation in the province.
Acting Defense Minister Assadullah Khalid, Acting Interior Minister Massoud Andarabi, head of the National Directorate of Security Masoom Stanekzai and the US and NATO forces commander in Afghanistan Gen. Scott Miller held talks with local officials during this trip, Paktia governor’s media office said in a statement.
On August 13, a number of Paktia tribal elders and residents claimed that at least 11 people were taken out of their homes and were killed the “01 Unit” of the National Directorate of Security at a night raid in Zurmat district on August 11.
The operation was carried out in Gulal Koh village.
The National Directorate of Security (NDS) in a statement said that at least 11 militants including two commanders of the Taliban were killed in a special operation in Zurmat district. This statement is rejected by local residents.
The officials held talks with Paktia governor Shamim Khan Katawazai, Paktika governor Mujib-Ur-Rahman Samkanai, the Commander of 203 Corps Brig. Gen. Khanullah Shuja, the provincial NDS chief Major Gen. Qadr Mohammad Qadr, the statement said.
The statement added that the officials discussed the security situation and claims of civilian casualties in a government forces operation in Zurmat district and assigned a probe team to assess the incident.
The officials called on Paktia and Paktika governors to have a “direct role” in the assessment of the Zurmat incident, the statement said.
The Defense Ministry in a statement confirmed the visit but said the officials assessed the security situation in the south-eastern provinces in this trip.
According to Paktia residents and tribal elders, Hayatullah, an employee of Ministry of Education in Kabul; Mohammad Shafi, a teacher; Ansarullah, a student at Paktia University; and Akhtar Mohammad, a student at Kabul University who went to visit their families in Zurmat district, as well as Mohammad Asif, principal of Dawlat Khan School in Zurmat; Inam, a madrassa student; Rahmatullah; Hekmatullah; and Nusratullah (who are brothers), Fida Mohammad, Nasrullah and Fathullah, farmers in the district, are the 11 people who the residents said were killed in the raid.