President Ashraf Ghani relieved a number of high-ranking officials in Herat during his trip to the western province on Saturday. He said he hoped the personnel changes would pave the way to solutions for Herat’s organized crime problem.
All in all, the Afghan president sacked fifteen police chiefs, eight district governors, five border police commanders and the Herat appellate court prosecutor. In addition, Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), petroleum, education and customs chiefs were all dismissed from their posts and will be investigated for malfeasance.
During his trip, Ghani emphasized the need to improve security in the province, which is one of Afghanistan’s biggest and most economically vibrant. “Herat Army corps command, police headquarters, national directorate of security and all government officials are responsible for creating fundamental progress in Herat’s security situation,” President Ghani said.
Meanwhile, Herat’s Acting Governor Aseeludin Jami has said that with Ghani’s support there will be a crackdown on illegal armed groups in the province.
“There will be no compromise by any means with illegal armed groups, either Taliban or non-Taliban, but there will be firm determination and they will be detained,” Jami said.
A number of civil society activists in Herat have applauded Ghani’s move to dismiss officials who are largely seen as corrupt or simply ineffective. “Those who were working in the government offices and were sacked by president must be investigated, and those are going to replace them must be professionals,” civil society activist Abdul Qadir Kamil said.
Acting Governor Jami says the provincial government is committed to seeing through prosecutions against former officials suspected of wrongdoing. He said rumors that some of the officials fired by Ghani had fled the country were false. “There are no reports of escapes and no one can escape, and if someone did, they would be re-arrested and prosecuted,” he said.
President Ghani has released a new order dismissing the legal director of the Herat justice department as well as ordered the entire Herat customs staff working in the commercial goods sector to be investigated.