In Nangarhar, governance reforms on the cards
JALALABAD (Pajhwok): Following security operations, local governance reforms would be introduced in remote areas of eastern Nangarhar province, the police chief promised.
Administrative reforms, nepotism, lack of access to local authorities and extensions granted to certain government officials are some of the local governance problems in the province.
Nangarhar police chief, Brig. Gen. Fazal Ahmad Sherzad, told Pajhwok Afghan News that, at a recent meeting with the governor, they had agreed on local governance reforms.
“We have decided to conduct security operations in certain restive areas before bringing about reforms. A number of local officials, who have been inefficient, may be sacked or replaced,” he said.
Although Gen. Sherzad gave no clear timeframe, operations are already ongoing in certain areas of the province. Whether the security push is based on that decision remains unclear.
Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, the governor’s spokesman, also acknowledged local governance issues. “We have governance-related problemsat the district level. At the meeting with security officials, the governor recommended reforms to deal with these irritants.”
Dr. Nasir Kamawal, the provincial council deputy head, also admitted: “In Nangarhar, we have serious local governance issues, including pervasive corruption and a delay in resolution of public problems.”
The issues have been shared with higher-ups, according to Kamawal, who said reforms were yet to be implemented. “One complication is that several officials have been holding important positions for years on end.”
He alleged: “These well-connected officials refuse to address public complaints in time. In certain instances, the people are forced to take their cases to the Taliban for decisions.”
Civil society activist and journalist Zabihullah Ghazi believed: “Reforms in local departments may have a direct impact on security and could lead to stability. There is still enough distance between the public and the government.”
While welcoming the decision, he urged Governor Saleem Khan Kanduzi to keep his word as soon as possible.
Earlier, Wolesi Jirga Deputy Speaker Haji Abdul Zahir Qadeer had told a news conference in Nangarhar the government sought cooperation from locals but could not protect them.
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