Details of the Western Kabul Security Plan; Citizens to be Involved in Maintaining Security

Following the attack on the Sayed Ul-Shuhada school in western Kabul, President Ghani tasked the second vice president, Sarwar Danesh, to prepare a comprehensive security plan to secure the area. The second vice president’s press office now says the plan was prepared in consultation with the provincial council, area representative, locals and security agencies, and submitted to the presidency for implementation. Officials at Mr. Danesh’s press office say vulnerabilities in western Kabul have been identified and, the plan calls on the president to increase the Afghan National Police (ANP) and the Directorate of Security. Local people should also be involved in securing the area and the number of ANP and Afghan National Army checkpoints in vulnerable areas should be increased. These officials consider this security plan comprehensive and feasible. According to them, with the implementation of this plan, the security of western Kabul will be better ensured. Military experts, meanwhile, say the plan is effective, but says it cannot stop the attacks. Residents of western Kabul say any plan to secure the area must be implemented. They say that most families have moved to schools for fear that their children will be murdered in schools and educational institutions.

President Ghani gave Sarwar Danesh two weeks to prepare a comprehensive plan to secure western Kabul on May 10, after the attack on Sayed Ul-Shuhada school. Mr. Danesh announced on Wednesday, May 25, that the plan has been prepared and submitted to the President. Mohammad Hedayat, director of press and public relations for the second vice president, said the security plan for western Kabul had been prepared in consultation with representatives of the people, the Ulema Council, area representatives, members of the provincial council and security agencies. Speaking to 8 Subh, he called the plan comprehensive and feasible. Mr. Hedayat stated that a technical survey had been conducted in the area before preparing a security plan for western Kabul. He added that the establishment of security agencies has been investigated and vulnerable areas have been identified.

According to the survey, more than 1.6 million people live in western Kabul. Hedayat states that there are also 1,200 public facilities in the region, including educational centers, schools, hospitals, mosques and universities. According to Mr. Hedayat, most of these areas are under threat and security is to be ensured by implementing a new security plan.

Regarding the details of the western Kabul security plan, Mr. Hedayat said that the plan envisages “increasing the police force, national security, involving the people in providing security, and creating new checkpoints.” He added that 18,000 and 13,000 police had been assigned to the two districts, and that this was by no means enough to secure the area, so the new security plan would increase both the police and the national security establishment. Although he did not specify the amount of increase in these forces, he said that the new organization of these institutions will definitely be effective in improving security.

The president orders for this comprehensive security plan for western Kabul when he had promised the implementation of the “Green Security Plan” three years ago to the people of this area. This promise, however, has not been fulfilled so far. Now Mohammad Hedayat says that the plan may not be in the form of a “Green Security Plan”, but some aspects of the green security plan are included in the new plan. On the other hand, Mr. Hedayat said that according to the Green Security Plan, local people were involved in securing the western part of Kabul and securing mosques within the framework of the ANP. He described the move as part of a Green Security Plan, saying it had been effective in providing security. Now, with the experience of this plan, the local people are supposed to be deployed within the framework of the police to ensure the security of western Kabul and to be armed by the government.

Mr. Hedayat also stated that the west of Kabul as a corridor is one of the most vulnerable parts of the province. He said that in the new western Kabul security plan, the security of this area is evaluated and new checkpoints of the ANP and ANA will be created to fill the gaps.

Western Kabul is bordered by Paghman and Chahar Asyab districts of Kabul and Maidan Wardak province, so terrorist groups can infiltrate this area and other parts of Kabul city. However, the second vice president’s press and public relations director said the areas would be controlled by air and land and that terrorist groups would not be allowed to enter western Kabul.

Meanwhile, some military experts say that although the new security plan for western Kabul is helpful, it will not deter terrorist attacks. Baz Mohammad Yarmand, a military affairs expert, told 8 Subh that preventive measures should be taken to ensure security in Kabul, especially in the west of the city, so that the attacks are thwarted. He added that if the terrorist attacks are not thwarted, the security agencies should take reconnaissance measures and determine the target of the attacker. Mr. Yarmand stated that at this stage, operations should be carried out before the action to neutralize the attack of terrorist groups. The military intelligence expert also stated that at this stage, there must be a strong “fighting force” to prevent casualties.

Baz Mohammad Yarmand pointed out that the increase in forces may be helpful in preventing suicide attacks and explosions, but it cannot fully prevent such attacks. He explained that terrorist groups have carried out bombings in Green Zones, such as the “Zambaq Square”, so it is easier for terrorist groups to carry out such attacks in western Kabul. He also referred to the involvement of the people in providing security, saying that it depends on the level of their training. However, he said that if the plan was prepared systematically, it would help.

Meanwhile, the residents of Kabul, especially the western part of the city, are calling on the government to pay more attention to ensuring the security of this area. They say the plans to secure the area should be implemented. Rahmatullah, a resident of western Kabul, says the area has been increasingly targeted by terrorist groups, especially ISIS, in recent years. He said that because most educational institutions have been attacked, most families are stopping their children from attending school and educational courses. He called on the government to pay more attention to securing western Kabul.

On the other hand, some citizens accuse the government of discrimination and say that the government does not pay much attention to this area because the residents of western Kabul are from a certain ethnicity. According to them, despite the fact that educational centers, schools and sports clubs have been repeatedly targeted, the government has not made any plans to secure the area. Farhad, a resident of western Kabul, said at least three major suicide and offensive attacks had taken place in the area over the past year, but that the government had not yet taken steps to prevent it. “Although the government itself has repeatedly acknowledged that western Kabul is a special target for terrorist groups, it has no plans to prevent such attacks,” he said. “Even now, we do not have much hope that this plan will be implemented.” However, he called on the mobilization of the people to ensure the security of western Kabul and to secure educational centers, schools, hospitals and mosques.

It should be noted that the west of Kabul is a predominantly Hazara area and has witnessed widespread offensive, suicide and explosive attacks in recent years. In the last one year alone, there have been at least three major suicide bombings and explosions in the area. In the latest case, the Sayed Ul-Shuhada school was attacked, killing nearly 100 female students and injuring more than 150 others. Earlier, the Afghan Shi’ite Ulema Council had called on the government to pay serious attention to securing the “Hazara and Shi’ite community.”