Efforts on to replace ghost Helmand police with real
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): Officials say they have launched efforts at completing the police formation in southern Helmand province by replacing ‘ghost personnel’ with real ones.
The efforts come after local officials repeatedly claimed ‘ghost personnel’ existed in Helmand police and their salaries ended up in private pockets.
About 10 days ago, President Ashraf Ghani arrived in Helmand and said problems in the security sector of the province would be resolved.
Three days after the president’s trip, Helmand police chief Brig. Gen. Aqa Noor Kentoz claimed half of the police in Helmand consisted of ghost personnel.
He had also alleged that his predecessor Brig. Gen. Abdul Rahman Sarjang had been receiving salaries of 270 personnel who actually did not exist.
The allegations against Sarjang are currently being investigated by the Attorney General Office (AGO).
Kentoz said they had chalked out plans for training and recruiting new police personnel to replace the non-existent ones.
Similarly, Helmand governor Hayatullah Hayat told Pajhwok Afghan News they had launched efforts to complete the police formation in the province.
But he warned those found involved in the ghost personnel issue would be brought to justice in order others could learn a lesson.
Maj. Gen. Asmatullah Dawlatzai, the 505 Bost zone police commander, also confirmed to Pajhwok that a fresh police recruitment process had been launched at the Maiwand Military Corps headquarters.
“The only reason behind the deteriorating security situation in Helmand has been the presence of ghost police personnel,” he said, adding that he had many times provided information in this regard to the officials concerned.
Dawlatzai also said still unprofessional individuals were being appointed as district police chiefs in various districts under pressure. However, he did not elaborate.
President’s special representative on security for Helmand Abdul Jabbar Qahraman told Pajhwok that he had in the past shared the issue of corruption in Helmand police with the president.
“Our national security forces are equipped with advanced weapons and facilities. The armed opponents (militants) cannot create problems for our forces if the issue of corruption is tackled.”
Provincial council’s deputy head Abdul Majeed Akhunzada praised the provincial police chief’s efforts against the issue of ghost personnel and insisted all issues in this regard should be addressed.
He said the issue of ghost personnel needed to be thoroughly investigated because the corrupt practice had crossed all the limits. The public representative also claimed half of the Afghan National Army (ANA) personnel were non-existent.
He said if the ANA formation was completed, the insurgents would not be able to create problems for people and security forces in Helmand.
A police official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said some district officials had been called to Kabul over the issue of ghost personnel. But he did not go into specifics.
He said more than half of the police in Nad Ali, Greshk, Marja and Garamsir districts were non-existent. He said some sacked police officials had taken home their weapons and continued to pocket salaries.
About his claims, the provincial police chief said two persons in this regard had been identified and referred to the prosecutors. He also stopped short of going into detail.
Over the past 15 years, ghost police, ghost disabled persons, ghost teachers and schools have been creating problems for the countrymen.
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