Afghan governors meet, discuss future of southern Afghanistan

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – Governors from five southern provinces met here April 25 to discuss the future of their provinces, share ideas and move toward a cooperative approach to addressing the concerns of the people of southern Afghanistan." This is the first time that five governors have met together," said Kandahar Governor Assadullah Khaled, who hosted the meeting of fellow governors from Day Kundi, Helmand , Uruzgan and Zabul provinces.
One of the main issues discussed was the need for cooperative security among the provinces. The governors collectively agreed there was a need to establish a joint coordination cell at the regional level between each province and their respective police forces. They believe the cell will enhance the pursuit of the enemies of Afghanistan across the provinces’ boundaries. Another benefit would be better coordination in reconstruction-related efforts and improved intelligence and information sharing across provinces, according to Governor Khaled.

Brig. Gen. David Fraser, Canadian Coalition Forces commander, also attended the conference.

"I applaud the effort these governors have made to change the focus of these meetings from what it was, to what it should be -- led by Afghan effort with an Afghan solution," he said.

Recognizing that many challenges lie ahead on the road to improving the infrastructure and quality of life for Afghans, the governors made their needs known to each other and discussed how the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police, along with the aid of the Coalition forces, can help obtain the regional stability they seek.

The ANA and ANP plan to meet and synchronize their efforts in all southern provinces.

Jan Mohammed Akbari, governor of the newly formed Day Kundi Province , expressed his desire to support a provincial reconstruction team to improve conditions there. He said he also looks to Coalition forces to provide assistance.

The Uruzgan governor, Abdul Kahim Munib, said he has made progress in his mission to win the support of the local population in the fight against enemy fighters and to assure the people of Uruzgan that the government will provide services to its citizen.

Mohammad Daud, Helmand governor, discussed the drug-eradication effort in his province.

"There are about 2,000 personnel working to destroy the poppy fields," he said.

Daud also asked about increasing the capacity of legitimate Afghan government institutions at the district level and providing necessary resources for maintaining a government presence.

It’s the coalition’s intent to support the governors and its responsibility to carry their message to the international community, said Fraser.

"We can’t be everywhere all at once," said Fraser. "Our job is to listen and find out what your concerns are, where the priorities are, and then to raise your issues, with everyone above us, to make sure you get the resources down here that your need so that you can improve your life."

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