Kandahar Police Chief General Raziq on Sunday maintained that Pakistan remains a major destabilizing force in Afghanistan, suggesting a gap between the national unity government’s hopes of turning over a new leaf with Islamabad and the reality of conditions on the ground.
“War is all over the country,” said Gen. Raziq, who has become famous for his uncompromising tactics and effective campaign against militants in the southern provinces. “Insurgents have not been empowered; they are helped by Pakistan and are equipped with powerful weaponry,” he added.
Despite overtures between Kabul and Islamabad, to the public eye, very little seems to have tangibly changed in the dynamic between Afghanistan and Pakistan when it comes to the Taliban insurgency. While informal talks looking to pave the way for peace negotiations have been arranged between Afghan officials and Taliban leaders, many experts remain incredulous about Islamabad’s – but particularly the Pakistani military and intelligence organs’ – commitment to peace and stability in Afghanistan.
According to Raziq, Afghanistan’s southern provinces are slightly more stable in comparison to other parts of the country. Taliban activity is reportedly concentrated in certain parts of Helmand and Uruzgan provinces.
“Security has improved in the south,” he told TOLOnews on Sunday. “Rebels are active in just a few parts of Helmand and Uruzgan. I have ordered the security forces to eradicate the militants.”
In the fashion that he has become known for, Raziq went on to challenge the Taliban over their supposed dependence on Pakistan. “We ask the Taliban to return and support the Afghan government – if they are not the slaves of Punjabis – or else they will be eliminated by the Afghan security forces,” he said.
Raziq maintains that the number of active Taliban fighters is often inflated by propaganda and is in fact much lower than what is widely believed. Similarly, he says the militants’ territorial gains and casualty inflictions on the Afghan security forces are in fact lesser than is portrayed by their public relations team.