Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, August 4th, 2020

Concerns over Increases of Insecurity Incidents in Herat Province

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Concerns over Increases of Insecurity  Incidents in Herat Province

The key western city of Afghanistan witnessed a series of insecurity incidents, including targeted killings, attacks on the police and armed robbing. Herat located in the western part of Afghanistan. It has 17 districts inhabited an estimated population of about 1,9 million. It is the second most populated province in the country.  Recently terrorist attacks in villages and armed robberies in city created a wave of fear among its residents. With having a deep look on the cases, it can be concluded that there are some definite factors behind the insecurity in Herat province. Poverty, interfering of neighboring countries, lack of law enforcement, limited number of criminal police personnel and lack of public cooperation identified as the cause of instability in Herat province.
Presence of Taliban is the first factor of insecurity in Herat province. To avoid confusion, the incidents that took place in the city is differ to those that happened out in the districts. It means city and district-level insecurity conditions are different. Killing or wounding of police as well as government staff were mostly attributed by the Taliban. Because at the moment Taliban has a wide presence in the villages of Herat province. Taliban militia have taken control of numerous areas in the districts of Shin-dan, Ad-ras-kan, Gul-ran, Kushki-Kuna and Farsi. These are the districts facing with serious security threats. Taliban are able to keep their existence in the villages. Unfortunately, neighboring countries support and equip the Taliban and order them to kill their Afghan fellows. Herat shares a border with Iran in the west and Turkmenistan in the north. Herat is an important trading region in Afghanistan and its security is crucial for the country’s economic activities. From another hand, Herat borders with Farah in the south, Badghis in the north and Ghor in the east as well as it shares part of its northern border with Turkmenistan.  Herat is the starting point of major economic activities.  The role of Ring Road Highway which is connected to Kandahar and Kabul is the most important business road which feed the economic needs of the government. Many goods import trough this road. Recently Taliban decided to target more economic lines and business activities and borders of the country to put more pressure on the economic chains of North-eastern region.  After the Herat customs department moved from the city to Islam Qala in Kohsan district in the north-west of Herat province in mid-2019, several killings of police and employees took place, mostly on the Islam Qala-Herat city road. Now the customs is in the area of Taliban influence. The Taliban want profits from imports taxes.
Poverty is the second factor of insecurity incidents in Herat province, undoubtedly there is a direct link between the poverty and the insecurity issues.  After the confirmation of the first positive Covid-19 case in Herat city on 24 February 2020 the economic situation began to change drastically in the city. All the economic circles blocked.  The province had been experiencing the largest outbreak in its long trading history.  Covid-19 virus has triggered unprecedented restrictions on the movement of people and economic actions. The pandemic is disrupting national supply chains and closing national borders. As the result, hundreds of workers lost their jobs. Therefore, the disease had a negative impact on the live of the middle class and under middle class residents. Many none governmental staff have lost their jobs because of the Covid-19 pandemic in Herat. Now, many people are job less, and it is not a good news for the future of the province. Poverty means some of the targeted residents do not have sufficient income for supplying or securing basic goods and services for their families.  The hard condition push some none educated residents to commit crime for the sake of receiving some economic motives.
The third factor is the public do not do their responsibility as a citizen. The ground support of the residents in security part in today’s society is what vitally important. People’s contribution in security issue is a top priority for any country in the world.  It is vitally important for every citizen to consider cooperation in security portion as a key of his/ or her own responsibility towards the public interest and safety. When people choose to disrespect security policies & procedures, the whole society is at danger. Unfortunately, local ordinary people expect that the government must do everything for them, they like to sit aside and wish the government keep the province secure - for it is only the government task. In the secure societies, the responsibility of establishing appropriate protective security roles are divided and the residents are part of the program. This is a kind of misinterpretation regarding security roles.  And this caused lack of cooperation in between the security force and the public.
As a conclusion, the presence of Taliban in villages and the involvement of them in attacks, particularly the ones on security forces as well as doing some of the targeted killings are the cases that increased concerns for business men and ordinary people. The spread of Covid-19 virus definitely is another dynamic that put negative impact on the safety level of Herat city. Strong intelligence, a professional police force that is expert in criminology and modern technology as well as establishing close coordination between security forces, the justice system and the public will be an effective power for regulating these disorders.  The  central government can train some police – who are able to  handle organized crime such as assassinations, kidnappings, armed robberies, narcotics trafficking and money laundering. Only the official changes approach cannot work well, because the changes that happened recently in Herat city did not bring any positive impression, the province still does not feel secure; still the residents live in the shadow of robbers and kidnappers anxiety.

Dawlat Bakhtiari is the newly emerging writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at outlookafghanistan@gmail.com

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