President vows to investigate corruption in Helmand
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): President Ashraf Ghani, who arrived in the troubled southern Helmand province on Monday to assess security situation, said he had received many complaints about corruption in the province and vowed to investigate them.
The president landed on the 215 Maiwand Military Corps base in the morning and praised sacrifices and heroism of the Afghan security forces in the defence of the motherland.
Ghani prayed for the departed souls of security personnel during recent clashes with insurgents in various parts of Helmand and wished speedy recovery to those injured.
The president the Afghans were thankful to their security forces who defended every inch of the soil. “We are the real heirs of Islam and that’s why we make efforts every day for peace.”
Ghani praised the security forces and said they fought not only for the stability and peace in the country but also to provide the coming generations an environment of peace. “Your are right in your campaign and right always wins over wrong.”
He said those thinking Afghanistan was under threat, they should think again because the Afghan security and defence forces defended the soil at all costs. “As the commander in chief of the security forces, it is my duty to give families of the martyred and the injured forces their rights.”
The president said he had promised infrastructure development projects with the people of Helmand during his election campaign and resources would be found for the projects on their turn.
He said though the security situation in Helmand was not good, but the departments had been strengthened, laws were being enforced and the security forces were able to deal with every pressure.
He said security in Helmand was a priority and he had exclusively discussed it with the provincial governor, military commanders and the intelligence department and improvement would come as planned.
Ghani also promised reforms in the police department and said those involved in corruption would be arrested and future police appointments would be made after his approval and no connections would be accepted.
The president said a separate anti-corruption department had been established and the entity would soon start its work and former and current officials accused of corruption would be investigated.
He mentioned corruption allegations against former Helmand police chief Brig. Gen. Abdul Rahman Sarjang and said if the allegations were proved, the police chief would be imprisoned for 20 years.
The president also said he had directed the governor to provide him a list of departmental heads who held on to their posts for many years using connections and money in order they could be replaced with young and talented individuals.
He said the TAPI gas pipeline project would create jobs for jobless youth in Helmand and Kanahar besides paving the ground for other facilities.
Helmand governor Hayatullah Hayat urged the president to pay special attention to the problems in the province and said the central government should appoint eligible people to key posts in provinces.
The governor urged the president to give special attention to finding resources for completion of the Kajaki hydropower dam, construction of an old planned canal and improvement in the agriculture, health and reconstruction sectors.
Hayat also said there was corruption in police and the existence of ghost security personnel had paved the ground for insecurity and the military personnel were also insufficient.
A tribal elder, Hafizullah Khan, said the available security forces’ strength and resources could not maintain security in Helmand and the security sector had a lot of problems.
He said officials were being appointed in return for money and these officials then only served to refund the money and were not committed to their responsibilities.
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