The head of Afghanistan’s Etidal (Moderation) Party has categorically rejected a report published by an Iranian daily about the formation of a “Shia mobilization force” in the conflict-ridden country, saying the popular forces defending their homeland do not rely on any faction or movement inside Afghanistan or abroad.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Sayed Hassan Safaye dismissed as a “lie” the article published by Jomhouri-e Eslami newspaper the previous day titled “Hashd al-Shi'i rises in Afghanistan,” saying the many contradictions that the report contains attest to its fallacy.
He also said that the report, which carried his picture with the name Sayed Hassan al-Heidari, disrupted public opinion.
“While completely rejecting the false news, I declare that I have not been present in any foreign conflict and war except alongside my dear compatriots. As long as I live, I will not allow anyone to use our homeland against our national interests and religious coexistence… I consider the publication of such lies to the detriment of the integrity of the Afghan people,” Safaye said.
“Our jihad (arduous efforts) against the mercenaries and sworn enemies of this homeland is for the sake of God and in support of the achievements made by the establishment as well as our national and cultural values. We have not attacked any nation or region, but we stand up with our lives against tyranny and aggression of foreigners in defense of our soil and people,” he added.
The Afghan politician further stressed that he had joined the popular resistance front formed in Balkhab District after it was besieged by the Taliban militant group.
“We thank God that as a result of the coordination among all the fighters of the resistance front, the Taliban’s heavy attacks were thwarted and Balkhab was purged of them,” the politician said.
“The Balkhab Popular Resistance Front and other fronts have been formed with the full backing of the people and are not affiliated to any faction, domestic or foreign current. These spontaneous and sincere movements of the people are in support of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, our Constitution and national and Islamic values. All the fighters of this front fight in coordination with the military forces of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, defending their land,” he added.
Over the past weeks, the Taliban have overrun areas in Afghanistan bordering five countries – Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, China and Pakistan.
The Taliban gains came amid the withdrawal of NATO troops from the country after two decades of war and occupation.
The US military led the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 in what it proclaimed was a war on terror meant to eradicate the Taliban. Twenty years forward, however, the declared objective has not been remotely achieved.