IS surrender in N. Afghanistan faces backlash as locals call for militants prosecution

KABUL, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of militants affiliated with the hardliner Islamic State (IS) outfit have surrendered to local authorities in Darzab district of the northern Jawzjan province over the past one week amid the mounting pressure by the rival Taliban outfit and government forces.

More than 400 IS fighters, according to local officials, have laid down arms and surrendered to provincial authorities over the past one week and only 200 fighters including some senior leaders of the hardliner group surrendered to police in Darzab district on Aug. 1.

Welcoming the step as a "good omen" toward ending the war and achieving durable peace, Jawzjan provincial governor Mawlawi Lutfullah Azizi said that "No more the phenomenon of Daesh or Islamic State exists" in Jawzjan province.

The official has also called upon other armed outfits to follow suit and give up fighting against the government to bolster the peace process in the country.

Meanwhile, locals in Jawzjan province have accused the former IS fighters of committing crimes against humanity and called for their punishment.

Hundreds of people, mostly from Darzab and Qush Tepa districts, the former strongholds of the IS group, staged a protest in front of the Governor House in Jawzjan provincial capital Shiberghan over the weekend and claimed that some 10,000 families had left their houses to escape IS cruelties.

"Islamic State militants jailed me in a well for eight days and tortured everyday to provide them 1.2 million afghanis (around 17,000 U.S. dollars) and after extorting the sum they set me free," Habibullah, a resident of Darzab district, told Xinhua recently.

Habibullah also warned to burn himself publicly if the government fails to ensure justice.

Like Habibullah, many more people from Darzab and Qush Tepa districts have been accusing IS militants for killing, raping, looting and destroying their houses, urging the government to take legal action against the former militants for their past crimes.

Advocating the demand for trial of IS fighters, Sima Samar, the head of Afghan human rights commission, in talks with local media, said, "No one has the right to pardon this people for their surrender to the government."

Meanwhile, Jawzjan provincial governor Mawlawi Lutfullah Azizi told Xinhua, "The government has promised to pardon these people if they don't take arms again to fight against the government." However, he noted that people's allegations would be investigated in accordance with the law.

In the meantime, Mawlawi Habib Rahman, the leader of the IS surrendered group has rebuffed the allegations as baseless, saying, "The government of Afghanistan has promised to protect us and this is the responsibility of the government to act upon its agreement."

[ Editor: Xueying ]
 

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