Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Afghan Youth Debates: Upbeat Claims From Government Forces in East

By Zabihullah Ghazi






Afghan security officials in the east of the country say last month’s largely violence-free election is proof that they are winning.

"The insurgents were suppressed; they were unable to fight face to face,” General Dadan Lawang, commander of the Third Brigade of the 201st Army Corps. "All they can do now is plant landmines or carry out guerrilla attacks. They showed their impotence during the election."

The June 14 run-off vote between Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai went off more peacefully than expected, although afterwards the count descended into allegations of skewed figures, forcing an independent recount.

The eastern zone, which consists of Nangarhar, Laghman, Kunar and Nuristan, remained free of major incident, although some casualties among the armed forces, the Taleban and civilians were reported.

These provinces lie in close proximity to Pakistan, where the Taleban have bases. Border security is thus important to containing the threat.

General Ayub Husseinkhel, commander of the 301st Frontier Zone the east, said his forces performed well around the June election because morale was high and they were well-equipped

"Our forces are now better-trained than before, and they are proud to have suppressed the rebels using heavy weaponry,” he told IWPR.

Afghan deputy interior minister Ekramuddin Yawar was put in charge of security in the eastern zone for the duration of the ballot, and he told IWPR that very few attacks took place either on polling stations or on police and army members.

General Yawar said public support was an essential part of the security success story.

"If I said the security forces [alone] ensured that a proper ballot took place, it wouldn’t be correct – the public assisted us so that the election took place in absolute safety" he said.

Zabihullah Ghazi is a student at Nangarhar University and an IWPR trainee reporter.  

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.