KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – Neighboring district elders and leaders met with provincial officials Sept. 7 in Kandahar province to share security ideas and solutions.
Representatives from Shah Wali Kot, Nesh, Mya Neshin, Arghandab, and Khakrez districts attended the shura.
Brig. Gen. Ahmed Habibi, 1st Brigade commander for the Afghan National Army’s 205th Corps, cited recent security improvements in Arghandab district as an example for others. Arghandab, he said, has remained secure since this summer when NATO and coalition forces retrograded from the area. According to officials, it is more secure than the neighbouring districts.
“Everyone needs to cooperate with each other,” Habibi said. “Arghandab is not secure because it is close to Kandahar city. It is secure, because the people there stopped arguing and started working together.”
Habibi added that Afghan security forces are stepping up their operations the districts represented at the shura.
“GIRoA forces are planning and executing their own missions without support from NATO and U.S. forces,” said Habibi. “I have seen Taliban commanders put on women’s clothes and run because they are scared of how strong Afghan forces have become.”
Habibi and other leaders praised Afghan Local Police, calling them “the main line of defense for most villages.” ALP efforts threaten Taliban control of the villages, he explained, noting security gains in Panjwai.
“Two to three years ago in Panjwai, there was a large amount of U.S. and NATO troops there and it was still insecure,” he said. “Now the area is safe with one company of ANA and support from ALP patrolling their villages.”
Provincial Peace Council Director Atta Mohammad lobbied for non-violent intervention to take away the Taliban’s “most vital resource.”
“Get your young people to the peace shuras,” Mohammad said. “If your sons are fighting for Taliban and other bad groups, get them and take them to the nearest peace shura.”
Volunteers such as Mohammad work extensively with troubled youths to prevent them from joining the Taliban or to influence their leaving the terrorist group. Peace Council shuras aim to increase one’s understanding of Islam, while denouncing Taliban’s skewed beliefs.
“If your son is making a jihad against the government of Afghanistan, and you tell me you cannot get him to stop and come home, then call me and give me his number. I will call him home, and together we can get him to leave the Taliban,” said Mohammad.
“It wasn’t a government or army that defeated the Soviet Union,” Mohammad added. “It was the people that worked together and supported each other that drove them out.”
This work, Kandahar provincial, districts leaders talk security, by SSG Brandon McIntosh, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.