Lashkergah (PAN): In the wake of capacity building of security forces and unflinching support by the public, security in the volatile Helmand has been improved to great extent.
Helmand Governor Spokesperson Omer Zwak expressed optimism that security has been bolstered as comparative to the past. Comparing the current security situation with past, he said that earlier only the capital had beefed-up security, adding but against the back drop of establishment of local councils in districts and villages, security has been tightened elsewhere in the province.
The formation of security councils have helped bridged the gap between the government and the public, and the development activities have been extended to remote areas. He went on to say that deployment of Local Police yielded tangible results as attacks by insurgents have been prevented.
With the exception of Baghran and Disho Districts, he said rest of the districts’ administrators discharge their duties efficiently amid tight writ of the government.
He went on to say that following support extended by the international community, buildings for districts’ administrations have been constructed in government controlled localities, agriculture activities witnessed improvement, schools are opened, and the telecommunication services are expanded to remote areas.
He said that roads lead to Nawa, Grishk, Nad Ali, Sangin, Kajaki, and Marjah Districts have been paved while roads of rest of the districts would be repaired. He informed that currently only domestic flights take off from the Bost Airport while plans are underway to launch international flights facilities as well.
He noted that further construction work on Kajaki Dam is under consideration, building of industrial parks, and processing of agricultural products, which tend to bolster security and enhance the economic activities.  
He said that security cannot be tightened without the active support by state organs and public support, adding that the authorities are striving to get access to remote areas to address the problems being faced by the people of far-flung localities.
“The province is navigating on right track in terms of security. Public extends their all out support to the government and are not providing any safe havens to insurgents, which helped stabilizes security,” he added.
Colonel Abdul Nabi Ilham, Helmand police chief linked the excellent security measures to the professionalism of police force and all out public support. He said that credit for better security goes to national police, border police, public order police, and with special reference the local police.  
It merits mention here that local police have been deployed to the districts where government has greater control.  
Ilham went on to say that currently all security responsibilities are transitioned to Afghans. He said that in addition to national police, the national army, and national directorate of security are leading the operations and the successful Sangin operation can be quoted as an example of excellent coordination. He said that earlier an attack was staged at regional level, which was repulsed by the Afghan security forces.
He said that people of the area are fed up with insurgents. The people neither provide shelter or safe haven to insurgents nor offer them with any food, he added. He expressed satisfaction by saying that the Afghan Security Forces are well equipped, professional, and enjoy greater public support.
He said that development activities have been intensified in the areas where the government has strong writ, adding that most of the problems have been addressed and the security related problems witnessed decrease.
He admitted that there are some security related problems on the roads in Baghran and Disho Districts otherwise rest of the districts have been stabilized in terms of security.
However, provincial council members present a grim picture of security by complaining that the current security situation is not satisfactory, saying that the security departments failed to discharge their duties efficiently.
Provincial Council Deputy Fazel Bari Fayaz said that the security agencies use the equipment to ensure their personal security, adding if some durable changes cannot be brought then the hard-won achievements would be wasted.
He said that the quality of materials used in buildings of education, health, and  institutions is abysmally low, adding that big projects in public interests could lead to some sort of positive changes.
He underlined the need that more attention should be given to stabilize social councils and elders in the districts, which would go a long way to maintain security.
Razia Baloch, provincial council female member blamed the security officials for maintain security, saying that the officials have their focus on their personal business and do not bother to discharge their mandated duties. She said that even the provincial capital has no security.
She went on to lament that there are persistent wave of kidnappings, terroristic attacks, and robberies that took place last month but the officials concerned turned a blind eye to check the deteriorated situation. She blamed high ranking officials in the center of involvement in spreading of insecurity, adding that they should be punished.
That state of affairs ultimately led to the loosing of public trust on the government, which resulted in mayhem. Rampant corruption in government departments, paying no attention to resolve people’s problems, and the inefficiency of the security agencies fueling insecurity in the province. She said that there is dire need to curb corrupt practices, overhaul the security agencies, and discourage the trend of extortion and other illegal activities. She said that creation of job opportunities could help stabilize security in the province.
Since eight months, Helmand security has been on downward trend and there are strong indications that one day security would be limited only to the Lashkergah, the provincial capital.
Shamsullah Sahrayee, a tribal elder from Sangin District said that security is better in Helmand rather than Kabul and a number of other provinces, adding however, that lack of coordination among security forces is a big problem.
Only the police force maintains security while the National Army is not extending any cooperation despite the fact that the later is better equipped. Because of ill strategy to confront the insurgents, the National Army is not fighting with the rebels efficiently.  
Sahrayee went on to say that currently the security situation is better because of public support. He said that people are tired of fighting that’s why they do not support the insurgents any more.   
He said that public support against the insurgents is helpful; adding that the Sangin District attack is a good example when more than one thousand insurgents attacked the district, but was repulsed within no time.
Security officials admitted that public cooperation resulted in thwarting of that attack.
A tribal elder said that people’s dream for a better tomorrow could not be materialized during the last 12 years because of weak governance and corruption with special reference in judiciary, which resulted in punishment of those with trivial crimes but people with serious crimes could not be punished. Currently, there are 1,200 inmates in Helmand but all of them are not criminals.   
Haji Habibullah, a tribal elder from Nawzad District also complained about insecurity, blaming the government for not taking any measures to improve the lives of the people.
He said that only 1/10 of Nawzad District is under the government control and the remaining parts of the district is controlled by the insurgents. He said that the authorities could not initiate any development projects to improve the lives of the people. There are families in Nawzad that have nothing to eat and even cannot afford to ensure provision medical treatment for their patients.  
He said if the government wants then the security could be improved within a month, because the residents fully support the government. He said that with the deployment of local police, the area can be purged of the insurgents.
Habibullah said that the road leading to Nowzad has been opened but people with special reference government employees cannot travel on the road as insurgents use to stop and subject vehicles to search.  
Ajab Gul Lalai, a resident of Nad Ali District said that security has been improved in the district recently. The local police have been deployed with the launching of development projects.
He said that there is greater cooperation between the government and the public, adding that good governance could be established and rehabilitation work on projects should be expedited in the area.
Since the transition of security responsibility to the Afghan forces, the night raids have been stopped and the security has witnessed greater improvement.
Lalai said that the governance in Nad Ali District has been improved and the overall situation is getting better.
Agha Wali a resident of Khanshin District told Pajhwok Afghan News that relatively security has been improved in the district, adding that Taliban activities are curbed and the security incidents have been decreased considerably.
Security is improved in Khanshin rather than central and northern districts, however, the economic situation in the area are not satisfactory because of lack of interest by the government and the international community.  Development activities need to be accelerated in an apparent attempt to ensure security. Construction work on schools, health clinics, government administrations, water canals, roads, and other projects should be launched in the district, which would create job opportunities and improve the lives of the residents.