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Taliban seen behind tribal clash over Nangarhar stone deposit

Taliban seen behind tribal clash over Nangarhar stone deposit

Aug 21, 2017 - 16:35

JALALABAD (Pajhwok): Heavy weapons were used when two tribes clashed over ownership of a mineral deposit in Sherzad district of eastern Nangarhar province on Monday, officials said.

The Sherzad district chief, Haji Malik Hassan, told Pajhwok Afghan News the early morning clash took place between Shalalkel and Isakhel tribes over a previous stone deposit locally called ‘Showkani.’

He said the two sides used heavy and light weapons, including rockets and machineguns, but there were no casualties on either side.

Hassan claimed the Taliban militants were behind the clash as they provided weapons to both the tribes.

Ajmal Omar, a member of the provincial council and elder in Sherzad district, however, said the clash was not over the mountain but was a result of a long-running enmity and the current conflict occurred over water.

Showkani stones processing factories association head, Haji Wali, a resident of Sherzad, also said the clash was not over the stones, but was a plot to pave the ground for smuggling of the mineral.

He added the war was apparently between two tribes, but militant groups were behind it in order to harm the stone’s trade.

Meanwhile, Haji Wardak, a tribal elder in Sherzad, confirmed the clash and said the government had fail to control the situation.

Mulagull, a resident, also said the Taliban were behind the clash. He said the government should establish check-posts and prevent the stones from being smuggled.

Attaullah Khogyani, the governor’s spokesman, endorsed the clash between the two tribes and said the Taliban were encouraging the tribes to fight against each other.

He said the local government was planning to carry out an operation against the Taliban in the area.

The Taliban have so far said nothing in this regard.