Gen. Khoshal Sadat, the deputy interior minister, ordered the arrest of former local forces commander Nizamuddin Qaisari in the northern province of Balkh and deployed 60 members of the police special unit from Kabul, Balkh Police Chief Gen. Ajmal Fayez said.
The police chief said they are not regretting conducting the operation – which according to locals turned the city of Mazar into a war zone for almost two days.
At least eight of Qaisari’s aids were killed in this operation that continued for at least 20 hours, according to local security officials.
Fayez also said that the first bullet was fired by Qaisari’s aides during the operation.
The operation did not result in the arrest of the local commander, who is “missing."
“I contacted the deputy interior minister for security on what to do about the situation, he said be ready and he would send us special forces to cooperate, surround his house and act based on the law,” Fayez said.
The security forces used helicopters to attack Qaisari’s residence in Mazar city and according to residents some civilian houses were damaged. The residents reported that all shops in the city were closed during the two days of the operation.
According to security officials, over 180 police force members and over 60 Commando troops were involved in the operation.
“This is a city and helicopters should not have been used in the operation, but the Ministry of Defense has improved, and the forces are precise in their targets and we have not targeted any (civilian) houses,” Balkh Garrison Commander Mohammad Nazir Paktiawal said.
There is less information available by local officials on Qaisari’s whereabout.
“Yes, he (Qaisari) is in Jawzjan,” the deputy head of NDS in Balkh, Sayed Shah Khan, said.
Some Balkh residents said such situations increases the concern among ordinary people about their daily life and their economy.
“The attack looked like it was against Daesh or Taliban fighters, but they did not think that it will affect the ordinary people,” said Abdullah, a shopkeeper in Mazar.
Qaisari's house is still under security force surveillance, according to TOLOnews reporter Sharif Amiri.
What was the reason behind the decision to arrest Qaisari?
A member of the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan – Junbish-e-Milli party – led by First Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum, said Qaisari had a legal dispute with Farhad Azimi, a close aide to Atta Mohammad Noor, the former governor of Balkh and a former Mujahideen leader.
Sayed Shamsuddin Sadat, a Junbish member, said the security forces favored a certain party in this issue.
The dispute began when a group of Qaisari’s aides claimed to own a house which is said to be owned by Farhad Azimi.
According to sources, when Qaisari’s aides were taken out of the disputed house, they went to Qaisari’s house and when he found about it, he became angry and decided to launch a protest the next day. That was the evening when police raided his house, a close aide to Qaisari explained.
Local officials in Balkh said many lands have been grabbed by strongmen in the province after the fall of the Taliban in the late 1990s, therefore, most of arguments and disputes are about these lands.
“Hundreds of people are bringing their complaints that their lands have been grabbed and they have documents but their claims are not being respected,” Abdul Hamid Safwat, head of Balkh civil society organizations, said.
“Some lands were grabbed in this period while a lot of lands were grabbed during the 1990s, therefore, land grabbing is a complicated matter in Balkh,” Balkh Provincial Council member Afzal Hadid said.