Afghanistan

Afghanistan: New interior minister to prioritise security

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KABUL, 29 January (IRIN) - One day after taking office, Afghanistan's newly installed Interior Minister called security his top priority. Ravaged by years of war, the country has seen a continuing spate of security incidents, which many fear could impede relief and reconstruction efforts in the future.
"My top priority is to provide security and conditions for peaceful activities," Ali Ahmad Jalali told IRIN in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Wednesday. The new minister, who completed graduate studies in the United States, noted that in order to achieve this goal, he planned to streamline the structure of interior ministry from the bottom up. "I am hopeful and cautiously optimistic," he said, adding that with the help of the Afghan people and the international community, eventually solutions to major security issues could be achieved.

Earlier, Jalali's predecessor, Taj Mohammad Wardak, who on Tuesday was appointed as an adviser on tribal matters and member of the national security commission, had pledged to control security within six months of his term or resign.

But the multi-lingual military and political analyst Jalali remained more cautious. "It is very hard to fix a time frame for a complicated situation like Afghanistan," he explained, emphasising that security could never be established without the cooperation of people. "You have to create conditions whereby the people can trust the police," he said. This remained his major challenge, he maintained.

"What I am going to do is try to create a national police force, which will be nationally oriented, ethnically balanced, professionally skilful and more disciplined," he said.

"I support the idea of extending ISAF outside Kabul," the new interior minister said, but called it and the contributions made by the international community as short term solutions to maintaining peace and security. For the Minister, a strong national army and police force was key to the country's long-term stability.

[ENDS]

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