Security improving in Kandahar province: police chief
Security has improved in the volatile Afghan province of Kandahar in the past four years, despite a string of deadly battles that have recently claimed the lives of Canadians and Afghans, the provincial police chief said Tuesday.
"Progress has been made compared to the last four years ago. Kandahar is [more] secure now than before," Kandahar provincial police chief Sayed Agha Saqib said through a translator.
His comment was made at a weekly security meeting held at the military base between Canadian leadership in the southern province and their Afghan counterparts.
Saqib said the Taliban has been forced to recruit fighters from other countries such as Pakistan rather than homegrown ones, showing that support for the insurgency is waning among the local population.
The security meetings are held every week to ensure better co-ordination between Canadians, the Afghan army and the Afghan police.
Kandahar's deputy governor, Ghulam Jilani Hamayoun, says that co-ordination helps Afghans get the extra technical support, keeps up morale and makes operations more efficient.
The Afghan National Police force is still dealing with problems of corruption, though. Several weeks ago, a batch of the officers' uniforms were stolen and are being used by insurgents posing as police.
Hamayoun also said at the meeting that Kandahar province is in the process of hiring private security firms to take control of the security of convoys for contractors doing reconstruction.
"These are the steps we took already that will help us with better security," he said through a translator.
Security is still an issue in the province, however, with a spate of bicycle bombs and a suicide bomb attack targeting a Canadian convoy in recent weeks.
Four Canadian soldiers were wounded and a teenage Afghan boy killed on May 25 by a suicide bomb attack on a military convoy in Kandahar City.
Shortly after, a bicycle bomb went off near an Afghan police checkpoint near the city centre, though no one was injured.
Earlier in the month, a boy was killed and four others were injured when a bomb placed on a bicycle outside the city exploded as a police vehicle passed by. It was one in a series of deadly attacks that May 17.