Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, July 21st, 2019

Time for a Comprehensive Security Policy

In recent weeks, the security situation in Afghanistan, particularly in the capital Kabul, seems to be on the rise. Saturday’s attack, that was carried out by the insurgents through an ambulance that was full of explosives, has proved the fact that the security situation in the country needs to be handled with serious and prudent measures. In fact, a comprehensive policy that must have both the short-term and long-term measures must be devised that should involve all the security institutions and expert opinions and initiatives, along with the consent of different stake holders.
Since US announced its policy regarding Afghanistan, the Afghan government must also highlight its policy outline that should correspond to the one that is devised by the US and both of them must support each other in compiling a strategy that can understand not only the nature of the insurgency but also provide workable solution to the present scenario.
Unfortunately, the nature of the response to the growing insecurity and insurgency by the Afghan government has been emotional. It starts with condemnation of the incidents after they occur and mostly end with blames and accusations of foreign involvement in the incidents. Though condemnation is necessary, and it is also necessary that the country must recognize its enemies and friends within regional and international spheres, a comprehensive security policy must entail something more: it must involve comprehensive analysis of security situation, and must chalk out practical measures to counter the challenges both in the short run and long run.
At the same time, during the process when the policy is being formed, it is imperative that different institutions and stakeholders must be taken into confidence, they should be involved in the matters that relate to them and they must not be designed only because of the pressure of the situation. Rather, they must be designed with the will to provide solution to the present problems and must make them acceptable to the people who are going to implement them. This will also ensure the proper awareness regarding the tasks that different authorities and institutions have to perform.
Since, there is no comprehensive security policy, different institutions and authorities do not see eye to eye with each other as far as the solution is concerned. The security agencies are not fully aware of the responsibilities that fall under their ambit. In some cases, they have been found blaming one another after incidents and the real issue or the real responsible authority or institution can never be identified and measures cannot be devised for improvement.
Another vital consideration in this regard is that there should be a will to stand for change. There should be a point at which the authorities and institutions must recognize that ‘enough is enough’ and they need to change the status quo so as to bring improvement. Saturday’s attack must open the eyes of the authorities and must compel them to realize that there is no more room for tolerance, and they need to get really serious for better solutions.
Saturday’s attack resulted in the death of about 103 people, injury to around 235 others. The casualties included many police officers. As per the statement by Interior Minister, Wais Ahmad Barmak, there are 30 police officers among the wounded; however, the number of police officers among the dead was not disclosed. It is, however, imperative to realize that this attack was carried out only a week after the deadly attack on Intercontinental hotel that resulted in death of around 22 people, which included foreign nationals as well.
Though Interior Minister, in his statement, said, “All security forces are working together to fight insurgency and they all hold themselves responsible for the (Intercontinental) hotel attack and Saturday's deadly bombing. All security institutions are working hard to eliminate threats. However, there had been no negligence or recklessness on the part of security forces in yesterday’s (Saturday’s) bombing.” Nevertheless, either it is because of the negligence or the incapacity of the security agencies that the insurgents have been able to carry out attacks as lethal as the recent ones in the areas of the capital that are considered very important and are properly guarded.
Saturday’s attack must open the eyes of the authorities in Afghanistan. They should realize that they have to change things if they are really interested in ensuring a better and safer Afghanistan for the people; and even for the security forces themselves. Emotional responses are no more acceptable; there has to be a comprehensive policy that must be able to address the actual security issues. That policy must correspond to the US’s Afghan policy and must involve the different stakeholders in Afghanistan. It must also be the product of the suggestions and involvement of different security institutions and most importantly, it must be designed and followed with honest intentions of addressing the issue of insecurity and terrorism.