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Editorial: Black sheep

Earlier, it was on-off insider attacks that troubled the coalition forces and Afghan government. Now, it is about scores of black sheep in the police force and other institutions which is making headlines and had caused panic. Presence of militant supporters in the governmental organizations especially in security forces is a very serious issue to be addressed. It inflicts more damage than the insider attacks. When the insider attacks produced cracks in the government forces line, one can imagine the consequences of turning a blind eye to presence of the pro-Taliban elements in the police force. Every officer is not working for the insurgents but even a dozen of supporters can turn the table and give tough time to the government.

Arrest of 30 policemen including the acting district police chief in Sangin had shocked many. The district in restive Helmand province was nearly to fall to the Taliban. These cops were handcuffed for allegedly having links with the Taliban and supporting the militant group. An investigation is underway. Even after complete investigation, the probe report unlikely to be made public.  But, it is said that the policemen supplied weapons and ammunition to the Taliban. They also wanted to hand over control of the district to the militants. If they had not been arrested, Sangin would have replicated the fall of Kunduz. A few hundred militants overran the Kunduz City in late September last year. It was a great victory for the Taliban since the group’s ouster from power in 2001.

As of today, security situation of Sangin district is disheartening because the Taliban and government forces are separated by the Helmand River. Out of 14 districts, the insurgent group has control over four districts. They contest two districts while four other districts are insecure. The government has control over four districts. The government would try to placate the situation through statements, but it will not work in long run because the Taliban are gaining ground. The militant group has been strengthened by the black sheep. The authorities failed to find out these elements and send them behind bars.

There are scores of pro-militant people in the police force and other government institutes as well as in political parties. How can the government deal with militancy when these black sheep are supporting the insurgents? In order to win the war against terrorism and extremism, the government must identify all those people who enjoy links with militant groups.

Moreover, the government shall also introduce reforms in the police force because the recruitment policy is flawed and allowing militants and their supporters to wear the uniform. The insider attacks, carried out in the past one year, are proving that the recruitment process had not been put on modern lines.

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