Some residents of Jebrael, who were affected by a military operation conducted by government forces, are demanding compensation for damage and loss. They say the government has neither compensated their financial losses, nor it has paid for the medical treatment of some of those who were wounded in the military operation.
On March 03, government forces, under the command of Herat governor, Sayed Abdul Wahid Qatali, launched a military operation in a densely-populated area to arrest a local strongman and elder known as Habibullah Ghoryani. As many as six people were killed and 141 others were wounded during the hours-long operation, as per Ghoryani’s account. Many residential houses were destroyed during the operation.
The operation-affected people claim financial damages worth 50 million afghanis have been inflicted on them. Mr. Ghoryani accuses the government of not being accountable for its actions. “The security forces have robbed people’s belongings. Residential houses have been destroyed during the operation. The security forces have taken away people’s arms, money, and possessions,” he claimed.
According to Mr. Ghoryani, 11 wounded people have so far been treated in Mashhad, in neighboring Iran and one of the wounded has lost his foot. “The government has not provided any assistance for the wounded in Mashad,” he said.
Fall into debt
Nasrat, 28, was severely injured in his belly in the military operation in Jebrael. His brother, Ahmad Jawid, transferred him to Mashhad for receiving medical treatment there. According to Jawid, they have so far spent more than 100,000 afghanis for his treatment.
Nasrat has two children and ran a small fabric store in Jebrael before being shot while he was on his way home as the military operation broke, according to his relatives. Nasrat has undergone two medical operations so far but he is still in critical condition, according to Jawid. “My brother’s condition is not good. The government has not provided assistance except 15,000 afghanis,” Jawid said.
Jawid says that they have borrowed money from their relatives and friends to cover the treatment cost of his brother and now they run out of money. “My brother was a worker and had invested 100,000 afghanis in his fabric store. Now he is under costly treatment in Iran and his family’s expenses are too high.”
Najibullah Muhibbi, a member of Herat Provincial Council, however, said that 19 people who had been wounded in the military operation in Jebrael, were transferred for medical treatment to Mashhad, Iran. Nine wounded were treated completely. “The government has paid the medical treatment of the wounded people in Mashhad. To my knowledge, the government has paid a total of 600 million [Iranian] toman – equal to 1 million and 890,000 afghanis – for treatment of the wounded [transferred] to Mashhad. Perhaps, some wounded have personally paid for their treatments,” he said, adding that the remaining 10 wounded people would return home by the end of this week.
Psychological harms and destruction
Mujtaba, 35, who is a resident of Jebrael, took shelter along with his family members in the first story of their house at the time of the military operation. But shrapnel of a rocket shell hit a gas balloon in their house and caused a blast. His two children are suffering the trauma left by the operation in Jebrael, particularly the blast.
Though 40 days have passed since the military operation, Mujtaba says that his children are still in shock and suffer a trauma left by the military operation. “[The children] start crying even we talk in a loud voice or the door is closed forcefully. Sometimes they continue crying for the whole night. I swear to God that I don’t have the money to take my children to a psychotherapist. The operation wandered us.”
He claimed that their gold worth 160,000 afghanis and a total of 80,000 afghanis were stolen from their house after they were forced to leave their home that night. Mujtaba’s house has been destroyed, as he claims, its reconstruction costs reach up to 1,100,000 afghanis. “The government should not have attacked the civilians and they have not provided us even with a rupee assistance,” says Mujtaba.
Two prominent Hazara political figures, Asadullah Saadati and Mohammad Mohaqiq, visited Jebrael – a Hazara-dominated neighborhood in Herat – to mediate between the Ghoryani’s men and the local government and reduce tension. Addressing a large gathering of Jebrael residents on April 01, Mohaqiq called for a serious investigation into the killing of civilians in the operation conducted to arrest Ghoryani. As noted in his speech, Mohaqiq said that he had discussed the incident with President Ghani and the National Security Council.
The local Herat administration accuses Ghoryani of bullying, having illegal armed men, drug smuggling, and committing illegal acts—accusations Ghoryani has repeatedly denied.
Ghoryani says that he is waiting for a fact-finding committee to be assigned by the central government to investigate the military operation in Jebrael, what Mohaqiq has promised to the locals. “The claim of running a private prison is false and they (the local government) hide their crimes by making accusations against me. The governor does not want to make peace with me. Perhaps, the Herat governor wants to make this neighborhood (Jebrael) insecure,” Ghoryani asserted.
The local government, meanwhile, has remained tightlipped regarding these remarks made by Ghoryani.
Distributing in-cash aid
According to Monissa Hassanzada, deputy Herat governor, they have distributed in-cash aid for 38 families of the dead and wounded victims of the military operation in Jebrael as per a list prepared by the delegation led by Ahmad Khan Ghori, a senior adviser to the President.
Four of these people are relatives of the government forces fallen in the battle against armed men of Ghoryani, she claimed, detailing those families of the victims and the wounded were compensated cash aid ranging between 15,000 afghanis to 50,000 afghanis.
The deputy governor also said that the local government has received another list prepared by the local residents of Jebrael for distribution of in-cash aid.
Najibullah Muhibbi, a member of Herat Provincial Council, told Kabul Now that two wounded people, each was paid 25,000 afghanis in-cash aid and the rest were each paid 50,000 in-cash aid packages.