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Interview: Afghan governor Gulab Mangal on transition process

08-03-2011 09:36 BJT

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He has had 16 attempts on his life, and has arguably the most hazardous job in Afghanistan. The governor of Helmand province, Gulab Mangal, talks to CCTV correspondent Yama Wolasmal about the ongoing transition process, the biggest challenges and the progress made in his province.

Meet Gulab Mangal, the governor of the southern Helmand province. A man who has had attempts on his life than any other government official in Afghanistan, including president Karzai.

Gulab Mangal said, "Without sacrificing our personal interests and putting our lives at risk, this country will never succeed. Those nations which have made these kinds of sacrifices are prosperous today. If my generation is not willing to offer its lives for this nation, our children will never have a bright future."

For seven years, he has governed Helmand, a hotbed of insurgent activity, plagued by a booming drug trade and endemic corruption. Issues Mr. Mangal claims he has addressed seriously, allowing him to extend the writ of the state to Helmand's volatile district.

Gulab Mangal, talks to CCTV correspondent Yama Wolasmal about the ongoing transition process, the biggest challenges and the progress made in his province

Gulab Mangal said, "Before the only presence my administration had out in the districts were security checkpoints. Now, we have a fully functioning administration, providing services in the fields of agriculture, education, healthcare and justice."

The influential governor, who is also a very close ally of president Karzai, says his administration has gained the trust of the people of Helmand.

Gulab Mangal said, "Two years ago nobody was approaching our administration, because people didn't trust the provincial government. Now, over 500 people approach my office on a daily basis with their grievances. We've gained the trust of the people, which in return has extended our ability to provide security and stability."

Mr. Mangal says the troop surge announced by president Obama last year, sending tens of thousands of US troops straight in to the Taliban heartland, has played a decisive role in turning the tide against the insurgency. Now he says locals are cooperating with Afghan security forces in their fight against the Taliban.

Gulab Mangal

Gulab Mangal said, "When insurgents enter a district to carry out attacks, the residents of that area rise against them. They stop the Taliban from planting roadside bombs, and inform our forces so they an come to their rescue."

Security in Helmands capital Lashkar Gah is now transferred to Afghan police forces. Criticized for being poorly disciplined, trained and equipped, they are now battling it out with hardened insurgents. Despite their shortcomings, Governor Mangal has full faith in forces as they try to secure Afghanistan's most fragile province.

Gulab Mangal said, "One suicide bomber, who was wounded by our forces, was trying to detonate the explosives strapped to his body, when one of our police officers ran towards him and wrestled the detonator out of his hand. I believe this kind of unmatched bravery is much more important than having advanced weaponry."


Editor:Liu Fang |Source: CNTV.CN

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