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Insecurity to cut in half voter turnout in Balkh towns: Hadid

Insecurity to cut in half voter turnout in Balkh towns: Hadid

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Jul 25, 2019 - 16:30

MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Mohammad Afzal Hadid, the chair of the Provincial Council of northern Balkh province, on Thursday said security situation in six districts of the province had worsened ahead of the Sept 28 presidential election.

Talking to Pajhwok Afghan News, Hadid said the government only controlled centers of the six districts while other areas were under Talibaninfo-icon’s influence.

He said the security situation of the province needed a serious attention. Hadid named the districts facing high security threats as Chamtal, Charbolak, Dawlatabad, Kashandi, Shulgara and Balkh.

“Of these six districts, the government controls only centers of Chamtal, Charbolak and Dawlatabad districts while the rest of other areas of these districts are in the hands of Taliban militants,” the public representative said.

However, he said security situation in Mazar-i-Sharif, the provincial capital, was fully ensured amid a decline in crimes compared to the past.

Hadid said the reason why security worsened in the six districts of Balkh was shortage of security personnel in the province.

Citing as example, he said should have been a battalion of the Shaheen Military Corps in Balkh instead of a division. He said there was only one division of the corps in Balkh.

He said Balkh had 3,500 police personnel for a population of three million people. The current police strength was inadequate.

However, he hoped the newly locally created force called ‘local army’ which has been deployed in Balkh would help improve security in the province.

Hadid said the government should not repeat the mistake of creating local police forces.

The provincial council head hailed local police forces but said they had many problems in their management and performance areas.

Pointing to recent peace meetings, he said the Afghans wanted the war in their country to come to an end under a stable peace agreement.

He said only Afghans were victims of the ongoing war in the country. The government did not pay enough attention to improve Afghan Local Police (ALP) forces over the last few years and that was the reason war intensified in some regions, he said.

He expressed concern that the number of voters in insecure districts of Balkh would probably decline by 50 percent compared to their turnout in the Woles Jirgainfo-icon elections.

It would be impossible for security forces to fully ensure order in unstable districts until the September 28 election, he said.

“Security situation has worsened in the already unstable districts compared to the 2018 Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon elections, I think the presidential election would not take place in Chamtal, Charbolak, Dawlatabat and parts of some other districts,” he said.

Hadid also pointed to security situation on the Mazar-i-Sharif-Shiberghan highway and said Afghan forces had been unable to ensure security of the route.

He asked Afghan forces to improve security on the highway, adding the Taliban militants had created mobile checkpoints on the highway.

He said the Taliban harassed passengers and extorted cargo trucks on the highway, an issue that had affected businesses.

The public representative also expressed concern about nigh-time suspension of telecom services in the province and said the issue was not related to security.

“When peace talks are ongoing, I think the shutdown of telecom services in Mazar-i-Sharif, which is one of the big cities of the country, is politically motivated act, Balkh officials also call it a plot,” he said.

He said traders, the public and the private sector had hugely suffered due to the telecom services shutdown.

“There are many provinces where the security situation has far worsened compared to Balkh, but telecom services are normal there”, Hadid said, adding efforts were underway to resolve the problem.

mds/ma

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