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Security in Kabul Improving, Terrorists Losing to Government - Governor

© AP Photo / Mohammad Anwar DanishyarIn this Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018, photo, Afghan security personnel patrol in the city of Ghazni province west of Kabul, Afghanistan.
In this Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018, photo, Afghan security personnel patrol in the city of Ghazni province west of Kabul, Afghanistan. - Sputnik International
KABUL (Sputnik) - Security in the Afghan capital is gradually improving, Kabul Governor Mohammad Yaqub Heidari told Sputnik, adding that a number of effective measures to protect residents will be implemented in the near future.

"In general, the [security] situation is getting better. At this moment, an exact plan has been prepared that will very soon help protect Kabul residents from terrorists' attacks. We intend to implement a number of effective security measures in future," Heidari said.

The governor said the presence of terrorists in the capital could be explained by the fact that many extremist groups have become unable to fight government forces in the field, and direct clashes have given way to terrorists' raids in cities and settlements.

"Even with the help of such raids, terrorists are incapable of succeeding as they had hoped to do. They expected to be able to take control of cities, regions, they tried to do it. In some areas, they even temporarily succeeded, but we countered them, and militants had to retreat with big losses," the governor noted.

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The governor said that terrorists have focused their attention on Kabul because all attacks in the capital are extensively covered in the media. Readers might not know the names of other provinces or cities, but they know Kabul, Heidari stated.

Other than achieving media coverage, terrorists are trying to scare the people of Afghanistan, especially the young and businesspeople, into leaving the country, Heidari said.

Security of Russian Embassy in Kabul Guaranteed

The security of the Russian Embassy in the Afghan capital is guaranteed, Kabul governor Mohammad Yaqub Heidari told Sputnik, adding that the city's authorities were working to ensure foreign diplomatic missions are protected well.

"At the moment, the Russian Embassy is outside of the 'green zone' [diplomatic area]. However, when the second 'belt' has been set up, the work of which is now underway, it will be a part of it practically… It has to be said that the Russian Embassy is protected very well: back in 2017, some steps were made to boost its security. Despite this, I will say that I am ready to keep working on the protection [of the embassy] in the future," Heidari said.

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The second "security belt" will include almost the entire city, the governor said.

Heidari said that terrorist attacks in Afghanistan could be explained by the attempts of anti-government forces to strengthen their position ahead of peace talks.

"The enemy wants to seize as much territory as possible ahead of the peace process launch, to be able to speak from the position of strength. That is why it is important for them to show that they have success in Kabul as well," the governor said.

The Afghan authorities have done a lot in the last few years to improve the situation: from attracting experienced personnel to reshuffling police and security forces.

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"Unfortunately, what we are doing now, could have been done two years ago. The lateness is one of the reasons for the difficult security situation. At the same time, little attention was paid to the role of the civil defense. Local residents had to be asked to do more to defend the country," the governor said.

Afghanistan Hoping for Detailed Rebuilding Assistance Plans From Moscow

Afghanistan is hoping that Russia will provide more details on its plans to help rebuild Afghanistan's infrastructure, Kabul Governor Mohammad Yaqub Heidari told Sputnik.

"We have not seen any details yet," the governor said, adding that the authorities and people of Afghanistan would welcome Russia's participation in the restoration of the country.

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Heidari pointed out that rebuilding some of the facilities or infrastructure could be particularly beneficial as it would help boost trade.

"EU countries are giving Afghanistan hundreds of millions in aid. Russia is not a poor country, it spends a lot on international politics, including Syria. But focusing on Syria only… you know, this reminds me of the 1980s, when Russia's attention was focused on Afghanistan. But it is up to Moscow," Heidari said.

The governor of Kabul stressed that Russia remains an influential country in Afghanistan and in the region, but Afghanistan has not been feeling that there has been much input from Moscow in some sectors over the last 18 years.

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"Afghanistan is well known in Russia. If you continued rebuilding here, the expenses would be tens of millions rather than billions, like it has been with some other countries," Heidari said.

The governor said that the country's authorities are working on a special partnership between the government and private investors to attract investment.

"Naturally, the government is interested in this… Even the most developed countries cannot do without foreign investment," the official said.

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The governor pointed out that foreign investment had played an important role in Russia's transition from a centrally planned economy to a free market.

"This is not just about financial investment and money, this is about technology and management as well. When a foreign investor or a manager comes to a country, they come with more than just money, they come with their way to run a business. And that establishes a different atmosphere for business," Heidari said.

Afghanistan, Russia Have Mutual Understanding Despite Different Languages

The peoples of Russia and Afghanistan can understand each other even when they each speak their own languages, Kabul Governor Mohammad Yaqub Heidari told Sputnik.

"Our peoples are close not just because of our liking for one another, not just because of the sense of gratitude. There is plenty of the East in the big Russian soul. That is why, when we talk we easily understand one another even if we speak our own languages. And when I meet my Russian friends, there is always that feeling of being with family," the governor said.

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The Afghan official, who is fluent in Russian, said he was certain that the people of Afghanistan could learn a lot from Russia, which has played an important role in global politics for many years.

Heidari stressed that Afghanistan had learned a lot and continues to learn from Russian culture, politics and economy.

For years, the fight in Afghanistan has been centered around the Taliban* radical group, as well as a number of terrorist organizations that have been operating in the country.

*Taliban is a terrorist group banned in Russia

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