A recent spate of suicide attacks has tested the capabilities and commitment of Kandahar's police and government officials, but locals still say security is improving. NATO TV explores the complexities of the situation in and around the city.
At the headquarters for the Afghan border police, news has just come in of a large-scale attack by insurgents on the city. The attack by four suicide bombers and remotely controlled car bombs was subdued by local police, although at the cost of the lives of several policemen. Suicide bombers in Afghanistan's second largest city have been targeting government officials, in one instance killing the deputy governor of the Province. The Chief of Police, Khan Mohammad Mujahid, has been targeted twice, but says their lack of success demonstrates their weakness. "They want to attack some important targets and try to influence the people. In the past the effect of the attacks was high by killing lots of important peoples and civilians, but there's been a decrease in successful attacks," adds Mujahid The violence hasn't discouraged people like the Mayor of Kandahar - who escaped a bomb placed by his car a year ago - from walking the bazaars and telling the people his plans to improve the local area. He says that it's because of the success of joint Afghan and ISAF operations in the districts around the City that the insurgents are forced to use often teenaged suicide bombers to cause disruption in the provincial capital. The Mayor has great plans for this city known as the country chief trade centre. But paving the roads and a city park hangs on security. Talking to the locals, however, they say it's improving. "Security is good as we can see that everyone can do their work and there is no fighting"- says a man. Another one adds, "As you can see, lots of traffic, people, cars and others are the signs of good security." The upbeat assessment of security, even in the face of the recent attacks is probably due to a smaller amount of civilian casualties, itself a testament to the improving Afghan security forces in Kandahar. But it's very hard to completely screen out suicide bombers. ISAF, Afghan National and Border Police and the Afghan intelligence service all play a part, but what can help to diminish the effect of attacks is good communication. It won't be the last time the insurgents try to attack Kandahar City, but with every attack, the police are learning better how to defend their city.