Afghan media: Fate of four Afghan-Turk teachers remains uncertain

Parents of Afghan-Turk school on Wednesday said the fate of the four teachers of Afghan-Turk girls school who have been held by the National Directorate of Security (NDS), is unknown, reported TOLO News and added that the NDS officials do not want to comment on the issue.

Afghan security forces raided an Afghan-Turk female high school in the Taimani area in Kabul on Tuesday evening and surrounded the school for at least three hours while searching all areas of the school, students claimed.

According to the report, former government officials have strongly criticised the raid by the security forces on the school, calling it a sort of “political levy” paid by the Afghan government to the Turkish government. They said that the raid by the NDS was totally against the law and that the government is exploiting the educational institution.

But deputy presidential spokesman has said that the move was not politically motived and said it is legal action. Reacting to the raid, former NDS chief has described the move unprecedented in recent years. He said that move was a shame for the government.

However, Mohammad Ibrahim Shinwari, the acting Minister of Education in Afghanistan, made a contradictory statement on Wednesday and said that the raid by the security forces on Afghan-Turk girls school on Tuesday was not carried out on the orders of the government leadership.

Shinwari said that the fate of four teachers of the school will be determined soon.

On the contrary, former government officials have said that the government leaders are using the security forces as tools for their political objectives. “It was a politically motivated and unethical move,” said former deputy minister of education Sediq Patman.

Sources, speaking to TOLO News on condition of anonymity, have said that a court in Turkey had ordered the arrest of three teachers of the Afghan-Turk schools, including a Turkish restaurant owner in Kabul. The Turkish embassy in Kabul reportedly informed the Afghan government about the decision in a letter.

The Turkish government has asked the Afghan government to hand over these individuals to Turkey. But there is no an agreement between Afghanistan and Turkey about the extradition of individuals between the two countries.

Amid speculation about the link between the raid and President Ashraf Ghani’s visit to Turkey, the presidential palace has said that the move was not linked to the trip of the president. It was action taken against some suspects.

Neither the NDS nor the presidential palace is ready to comment on the fate of the teachers. But documents seen by TOLO News reveal that the United Nations has provided asylum to one of the Turkish teachers currently in the detention of the NDS and has asked for the prevention of his extradition to Turkey.

“It is a political and intelligence move which is moved forward by a certain team inside the national unity government to offer it as levy and bribe to Erdoğan of Turkey,” said political analyst Asif Ashna.

“The Afghan government wants to destroy the secure place of general Dostum by its move on the girls’ hostel of Afghan-Turk school and to gain the satisfaction of the Turkish republic because the Turks want these schools to be under their control,” said MP Arif Rahmani.

Reacting to the raid, the deputy chairman of Afghan-Turk schools in Afghanistan, Fawad Haidari, said the raid was in contravention of the laws of the country. Families of Afghan-Turk schools have said that the nature of raid on the school and the detention of four teachers of the schools amounts to kidnapping and creating fear.

“Last night the armed individuals of the national directorate of security entered the girls’ hostel without a court order,” told Sediqullah Tawhidi, member of Afghan-Turk Schools parents committee, to TOLO News.

Ruqayya 14 is studying in class 8 and was doing homework in her hostel. She said that the students at the schools were in shock when the security forces raided the schools. “I was very frightened and did not know what to do,” said Ruqayya

“The situation of our school has totally changed, the security forces entered our school from various directions,” said one student Raheel.

Currently, over 350 students are enrolled at the school.

“They said that your teachers have not been kidnapped and they are kept by the national directorate of security. We couldn’t find out was the main purpose behind the arrest was,” said Fawad Haidari, deputy head of Afghan-Turk schools.

“Last night armed members of national directorate of security illegally entered the premises of the school without having a court order,” said Sediqullah Tawhidi, member of the Afghan-Turk parents’ committee.

The office of the Attorney General of Afghanistan so far has not commented on the incident.

“If someone is guilty of something, then he should be dealt with on the basis of an order the president, not the lower officials,” said Yousuf Pashton, chairman of Afghan-Turk parents’ union.

“This message means that we are closing the doors of education without having a say,” said MP Kamal Naser Usoli.

The raid came few hours after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani left Kabul for İstanbul to attend an emergency meeting of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit on Jerusalem. Critics say that the raid on the school was linked to Ghani’s trip to Turkey.

“The president went to Turkey to discuss the Jerusalem issue, but here an attack was launched on the premises of innocent girls,” said Abdul Shokor Dadras, deputy head of Afghan-Turk schools committee.

“This is a violation of human rights. This must stop,” said Hawa Alam Nuristani, a commissioner of Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

Following a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, the Turkish government under the rule of Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan asked Kabul to hand over the leadership of Afghan-Turk schools to the government of Turkey.

The witch hunt launched in 2013 in Turkey targeting the alleged followers of the Gülen movement in the wake of a massive corruption and bribery scandal of Turkish government ministers and their family members on December 17-25, 2013 has even affected Pakistan and Afghanistan. Erdoğan put the pressure on the Afghan government to close the educational and cultural institutions alleged to be affiliated with the movement and to deport the Turkish citizens working in these institutions.

Previously Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Georgia and Myanmar handed over academics, businessmen and school principals, teachers upon the Turkish government’s request even though some of those victims already had refugee status with the UN like Mesut Kaçmaz  and his family in Pakistan.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. Turkey’s Interior Minister announced on December 12, 2017 that 55,665  people have been arrested. Previously, on December 13, 2017, The Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

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