The presence of militants is not the sole problem of Nangarhar; it is home to the most dangerous mafia network at the country level, which has turned the evergreen, picturesque province into a hell for its residents. Insecurity is no longer limited to its districts. Jalalabad, as one of the country’s most populous city, is insecure more than ever. Armed robberies, kidnappings, killings, and land grab have become a routine. The government knows most of the members of the mafia network involved in these criminal activities, but it cannot bring them to justice in order to protect the people from their evil because of weak rule of law.
The tense security situation in Jalalabad has recently provoked serious public concerns. People complain that gunmen rob shops in broad daylight, while the security institutions do nothing to prevent them. In response to the concerns, Nangarhar governor Gulab Mangal admitted that he was helpless to counter the mafia and ensure security in the city.
If the governor confesses to his helplessness, there is no reason for him to stay as governor. If the central government doesn’t appropriately support him against the mafia, he should honestly share the issue with the people. If the people also don’t accept his reasoning, he has to have “the moral courage” to leave office for, and give a chance to, someone else whom he considers capable of properly fulfilling the responsibility.
The central government should have mercy on its people, and at least provide proper security in the city of Jalalabad. Right now, there are numerous families living in Jalalabad who have been displaced by insecurity in the districts, so if they don’t feel safe there, they may move to Kabul, thereby further deepening the problem of internally displaced persons (IDP) in the capital. The problems currently facing Nangarhar require undivided government attention, and must be tackled once and for all.