Afghan Youth Debates: Ghazni Police Pledge Safe Election
The chief of police in Afghanistan’s Ghazni province has said his force is beefing up security ahead of the presidential and provincial elections next April.
The police commander, Jalili, was speaking at a December 11 IWPR debate in Ghazni focusing on election security.
Jalili said the police and other security agencies would be expanding their area of operations beyond the locations of polling stations to more remote areas in the build-up to the elections.
In response to a series of questions casting doubt on security in the province, Jalili said there had been marked improvements, helped by “more people coming forward” with intelligence, and police were continuing to monitor the threats posed by insurgent groups.
“In the coming three months, police and other security agencies will expand their scope, particularly to areas that are more under threat," he told students in the audience. "We assure you that police are prepared to spill the last drops of their blood in order to ensure election security in Ghazni province.”
These assurances were not enough for student Rahmatullah Rafat and Dad Mohammad Shadab, a provincial council candidate, both of whom recalled that Ghazni city suffered several rocket attacks during the last election held in 2009.
“Promises of improved security were made during past elections, but unfortunately that didn't stop us seeing rocket attacks on election day," Shadab said.
Another student, Idris Wafa, expressed doubt that the security forces would cope with threats since they had manifestly failed to do so over the last decade.
Abdul Jame Jame, a member of Ghazni’s provincial council, insisted that things were getting better.
“The security situation is better than in previous years. Andar district is 70 per cent secure while Moqor and Gelan are 100 per cent safe," he said.
Ibadullah Omar is a university student in Ghazni.
This report was produced as part of Open Minds: Speaking Up, Reaching Out – Promoting University and Youth Participation in Afghan Elections, an IWPR initiative funded by the US embassy in Kabul.