The Taliban are encouraging Afghans upset with bad drivers in their Islamist insurgency — drivers actually trying to escape the Taliban on risky roads — to contact their complaint department.
The complaints actually go to the Department for Prevention of Civilian Casualties — something the Taliban haven’t exactly worked to avoid in their bombings and ambushes.
But the Taliban do want to craft an image that they’re on the side of the Everyday Joe as they wage their spring offensive, Operation Omari, with the capital of Helmand province, Lashkar Gah, in their crosshairs.
The Taliban said in a statement this week that Afghans know they’re “striving day and night in military, cultural, political, education, social and multiple other fields for the defense of our homeland, establishment of a pure Islamic government and to serve and better the lives of our oppressed Muslim nation.”
“Lately the Department for Prevention of Civilian Casualties has received many complaints and proposals from tribal chieftains, elders and ordinary Muslims around the country about the conduct of drivers of transport and freight vehicles. Complaints about our respected countrymen recurrently facing problems, casualties and losses at the hands of drivers and transport companies during their journeys,” the statement continued.
“We keep witnessing that many of our countrymen are frequently inflicted with harm and death in traffic incidents such as the one which took place yesterday in Ghazni’s Maqur district where 73 innocent travelers were killed and tens of others injured including women, children, elderly and young men.”
In that wreck, a fuel tanker and two passenger buses collided, with the accident attributed to reckless driving.
Al Jazeera reported that drivers in the area were likely speeding to avoid roadside attacks by Taliban and Taliban checkpoints.
The Taliban said they “considered it an appropriate time to intervene” after that deadly wreck.
“The Department for Prevention of Civilian Casualties – to safeguard and protect the lives of our countrymen – hereby issues a notice to all drivers and companies of all private, transport and freight vehicles to strictly follow all traffic rules while journeying on major roads,” the statement continued. “The Islamic Emirate is obliged to take Sharia and legal action against all offenders from now onwards.”
In other words, they will take action against those who do not slow down enough to put their vehicles at risk of Taliban attack.
“Similarly if any of our countrymen are harassed by drivers during their journeys, they may forward their complaints to the local Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate or contact the provincial officials of Department for Prevention of Civilian Casualties via the numbers provided below.”
The Taliban included an email contact at a Yahoo address, and provincial phone numbers in Maidan Wardak, Zabul and Helmand.
Afghanistan’s Tolo News reported Sunday that the Taliban are “preparing for war” in northern Baghland province; officials in the area have called for more tanks and troops to be able to defend themselves.
Taliban also attacked a police outpost in a western Kabul suburb on Sunday, killing an Afghan National Police officer.
A spokesman for U.S. operations in Afghanistan recently said al-Qaeda has struck up an unsettling “increased relationship” with the Taliban.