Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, December 10th, 2018

Attack on Ministry of Interior - A Lesson for Afghan Police

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Attack on Ministry of Interior -  A Lesson for Afghan Police

Ministry of Interior was attacked on 30 May 2018 around noon time at 1200 hrs. Just two days before, 27 and 28 May, a high level security delegation of Afghanistan led by National Security Advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar, was in Pakistan and held discussions with Pakistani establishments. Coincidentally, at the same time on 30 May, a high level security delegation from India was holding a series of meetings of Joint Security Commission with the Afghanistan security establishments led by National Security Advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar. Minister and Deputy Minister in charge for Security were out of Kabul. Also, exactly one year before on 31 May 2017, there was a heavily loaded tanker explosion near Green Zone and after that incident one finds many security measures including restrictions on heavy vehicles, erection of height barriers, checkpoints with sniffer dogs and other enumerable security measures are in place in Kabul. In the last one year, no explosion took place using heavy vehicle but attacks continued unabated with changing methodologies and tactics. Security establishments had been major target and also other places including polling stations and government buildings have come under target during this time.
Too many coincidences during this Wednesday attack, if not any specific intelligence input. Ministry of Interior is the apex institution of the police security system and if the insurgents have started targeting it now, then it should be an issue of serious concern that they have become bold enough to target and attack the higher echelons of the government. Inherently, it has been the aim of insurgents and terrorist groups to gain fame by showing their prowess and ability to target and attack the most important and sensitive offices of the government.
Police and the ministry security gave attackers on Wednesday a befitting response. Attackers could not force their entry into the buildings area. It shows, the ministry security is well prepared in responding and neutralizing them. All seven attackers were killed and three detonated themselves. All this in less than two hours operation and it is praised even by security experts. The ministry accommodates many offices interspaced in many three and two storied buildings, including offices for internationals. The security system and all personnel deployed acted efficiently with courage and in coordination with other units including Special Forces, they demonstrated their professionalism. Our police force is capable to countering severe threats. In the process, one of the policemen sacrificed his life and five others wounded. We must be proud of the bravery, valor and courage of these police officers who put their lives on line for their country.
But policing system in Kabul city is still fragile. It is hard to comprehend how can a team of ten persons move around in the city and can reach at the inner boundary and then attack a very sensitive target – the highest police office in the country, Ministry of Interior – and after a saga of one and half hour, all of them get killed our brave police officers. But terrorist achieved their purpose by showing to the world that they can strike at any time. They can find different ways to maneuver themselves. We need to develop soft police skills in our police system. Kabul police admits that they don’t check armored vehicles and then purposely loopholes are left in the security system. Earlier, there was an attack using ambulance. There have been attacks using security vehicles. No police system in the world can check all the vehicles thoroughly but even if vehicles are not checked, a system could be developed to regulate them. It seems, our police is more oriented to armed response to attacks and threats but these have to be supported with government and law enforcement regulations establishing accountability. All of these areas are state functions and all collectively lead to orderliness in the society.
Human intelligence has to be revamped so that Police gets more information through behavioral analysis and socio economic analysis. Sensitize people to look for indicators but before that let police be sensitized to identify and look for them. Police needs to work for the safety of people and also to take care of their other day to day needs and then it can be trusted by people. Multiple information gathering and intelligence organizations should have better coordination to assess and evaluate information.
Humvee vehicles have been used in many attacks. In this attack also, all the vehicles used by terrorists were snatched from policemen at the Ministry earlier. In many situations, vehicles are snatched and these could be avoided if policemen are alert and ready. Complacency is the biggest enemy for security and it is to be tackled through trainings, deployment, and supervision. Police has to improve its tactics, management and accountability so that their assets, vehicles, arms and ammunition do not reach in the hands of the insurgents.
Every incident leaves many investigation clues and those may be analyzed to investigate to find support network and attacks modalities. Classical investigative methodologies and need based advance technology are to be adopted. In these types of incidents, investigations clues gathered from the crime scene and other locations may lead to identify the attackers and their support details. Every incident should be a lesson so that police personnel get more professional and preventive measures could be refined. This incident should be the lesson for the Ministry, to make the ecosystem around the Ministry safe.

The author is the emerging writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mg.sahibbzada.ceo@kainaatgroup.af

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