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Security strategies under question

About 120 border and local policemen surrendered to the Taliban after the insurgents took control of their base in Tirgaran area of Warduj district. The policemen were released on Sunday after promising that they would not rejoin the government forces.

Though, the relevant authorities claimed a few days ago that they are dispatching additional force to back the policemen against militants but the help has not reached. Delay in reinforcement resulted in the mass surrender of policemen which is projecting a disappointing picture and pessimism. Mounting insecurity in Badakhshan has long been in media headlines but unfortunately, the government has taken the issue not so seriously. The base has fallen into hands of the Taliban after several days of fighting. The major reason that could be held responsible for the fall is the lack of reinforcement.

Since the complete security transition, it was believed that policymakers and strategists would highlight the gray areas and introduce a wide range of reforms. However, there had been less efforts and much talks on part of the authorities since coalition forces ended their combat operations in Afghanistan.

Surely, combat role of the coalition forces was of vital importance for the country but different other factors should also be taken into considerations that are fueling insecurity. First, international community’s support is already dwindling. Afghan security forces are receiving little support in the ongoing war. The diminishing cooperation has created mobility problem, particularly at such a time when Afghan forces are solely fighting the tide of militancy.

Second, presence of foreigners in remote Badakhshan province is also contributing to insecurity. Foreign nationals who smuggle illegally extracted minerals and narcotics to Central Asia have established secret bases in the province. Badakhshan has been blessed with large scale natural riches. The province is rich in azure and ruby stones. Gold mines are also located in Khistan and Raghistan districts. These foreigners are encouraging and supporting the Taliban in the province. These outsiders also established strong links with some local elders and officials.

Allegations regarding backing of the Taliban by foreign elements and Afghan officials are not new. Sadly, there has been no fruitful investigation in this regard. The Afghan government should launch a probe in this regard in order to separate goats from sheep. To some extent, the government should accept the blame for worsening of the security situation because the black sheep have not been separated and punished.

Further, stern action should also be taken against those high-ranking officials who are continuously failing to support the police or troops requesting backup against the militants. Delay in reinforcement is not only inflicting heavy casualties on security forces but also hurting their morale.

If the government continues to turn a blind eye to the ground realities and does not push for reforms and changes in the security policies, improved security will remain a distant dream.

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