QUETTA, Jan 11: US Marines on Friday launched an operation clean-up in Spin Boldak town of Afghanistan to disarm armed groups, and recovered a large quantity of different kinds of weapons.

The US Marines arrived in the border town on Thursday evening along with armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and tanks. Soon after their arrival they raided the arms depots controlled by different tribal groups and seized weapons.

After the deployment of the US troops in the area Pakistan authorities completely sealed off the border with Afghanistan.

“Even Pakistanis with valid ID cards are not being allowed to enter Pakistan or go to Afghanistan,” a senior Pakistani border security official told this correspondent by telephone.

“There is no movement of the people at the Pakistan-Afghan border,” official sources in Chaman confirmed.

The soldiers loyal to Kandahar Governor Gul Agha Sherzai and headed by Frontier Affairs In-charge Commander Gul Fida are helping the US forces in the operation clean-up.

“The US Marines seized 10 Kalashnikovs from an old Afghan passport office belonging to an influential tribal elder,” Abdul Ghani Atar, a witness, told this correspondent.

The US troops also removed at least eight illegal checkpoints which had been set up between Spin Boldak and Kandahar by different armed groups just to take money from the vehicles passing through the area.

Governor Gul Agha took the decision of disarming the tribesmen at a meeting of elders held recently in Kandahar.

A senior official of the Kandahar administration said that the head of the interim government, Hamid Karazai, had directed the Governor of Kandahar to take tough measures to disarm the people in order to restore complete peace in southern Afghanistan.

After the defeat of Taliban in Spin Boldak various armed groups have been struggling for taking control of this lucrative district of Kandahar province. In the month of December, Gul Agha had to change at least seven Ulaswals (Deputy Commissioners) of this small town.

“This operation will not confine to Spin Boldak only and such raids would also be conducted in other areas of the province for restoring complete peace in the the province,” Gul Agha reportedly told the tribal elders of the border town.

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