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Flawed security policy

The current security policy is worn-out, but those sitting in the power corridors are trying to blanket the blunders with statements and incorrect figures. Militants’ attack on police base in Musa Qala district of Helmand province which inflicted heavy casualties on police force is an indicator telling about worsening security situation. Though, government officials were not ready to provide data, but it has been confirmed by the locals that at least 16 policemen were killed and six others injured.

The wily security officials preferred to keep hush, because there are certain questions that they could not dare to answer. One of the nerves-wrecking questions is that why the center failed to provide support to the policemen who were engaged in the battle with the Taliban for several hours on Friday night, though, it got aircrafts, choppers and support of the allied forces. Another question pops up when one hears of Taliban’s ambush on the arriving convoys to prevent reinforcement. The militant group’s strategy gives us a glimpse of our own flawed security mechanism. There might have been other options as well but were not explored by the relevant authorities, resulting into martyrdom of the policemen who fought the enemy bravely. The nation is in awe of security forces capacity for bravery. The horrifying images will remain etched in the memory.

In this situation, the government’s response is worth-lamenting, because it claims of defeating the militants but on the ground situation is quite depressing and contradictory. To improve the situation, the authorities should address the gray areas. It is hard to deny that quick mobility is essential element of a comprehensive security policy to support the seized policemen and troops, because delay in reinforcement cost lives of cops and soldiers. Seemingly, the decision-makers, responsible for crafting security policies, have yet to consider this crucial element.

Furthermore, without surveillance and active intelligence it is hard to fight guerrilla warfare. For victory it is imperative to have information about shelters, movement and strengthen of the rival force. However, it is not happening as the militant groups launch surprise attacks and capture security check-posts. As a matter of fact, over 45 percent of Afghanistan’s terrain is rugged and hard for militants to travel between two provinces in groups or without being noticed. Afghan provinces are not too vast which officials will find difficult to manage, in fact the size of provinces are so small and seem like districts when compared to other countries. Thus, lack of security personnel cannot be counted as good excuse from administration’s point of view.

However, the provincial officials could blame their ineffectiveness, laziness, corruption and poor public support, because these are the factors that encourage insurgents. As most of the ministers and governors live in barricaded buildings and fortified cities, the chain of contacts with public remained weak. When people are disappointed by the officials, they show soft corner to the militant groups. There are several precedents that residents of certain provinces approached the Taliban for resolution of conflicts, when they lost trust over the country’s judicial system.

It has also been observed that some government officials and lawmakers support the insurgent groups secretly. This happened in Badakhshan and Nuristan. These black sheep still roam freely with impunity as the government hasn’t probed the allegations despite repeated calls. There is no second opinion that without punishing those who are cooperating with militants, we could not end insurgency. Without overhauling the security apparatus and policies, chasing militants would not be different from fishing in the troubled water.

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