President Ashraf Ghani, who is on a two-day visit to Balkh province in the north of Afghanistan, said government is committed to implementing effective plans for election security and counter-terrorism – especially in Balkh, as he addressed the residents on Saturday.
The districts of Chamtal, Chahar Bolak, Sholgara, Dawlat Abad and Shortepa are among the seriously vulnerable areas in the province in terms of security.
According to the Ministry of Interior, 54,776 members of the Afghan National Security and Defense Force will be deployed to secure 5,100 polling centers five days ahead of the October 20 elections. There will be 9,540 reserve forces.
“Balkh is proud of its security and defense forces… My clear direction to you (senior security officials) is that security of four districts in Balkh should be among the top priority of Afghanistan’s national security,” Ghani said.
The president stressed the need for unity and tolerance among the people, saying that differences will prolong insecurity in Afghanistan.
“The base of everything is our ideas. When Afghans are united, I don’t see any power on earth that will be able to defeat us,” Ghani said.
Ghani’s trip comes at a time that Mazar-e-Sharif residents recently raised concerns over the increase of crime in the city.
“The pressure on Balkh is from four sides. I demand special attention from you (President Ghani),” said Mohammad Ishaq Rahguzar, governor of Balkh, as he addressed the event.
The president meanwhile promised to establish an air corridor in the province in order to export goods from Balkh to India and other countries.