MAZAR-I-SHARIF (PAN): Security elsewhere in northern Balkh province has been improved as compared to the past, local officials said.
The officials link the improved security situation to the deployment of Afghan Local Police (ALP) to the province, extended cooperation of the people with the police, and efforts of national police force. The province has immense stability now, the officials said, adding that even small scale attacks and other security threats by rebels are encountered by the security forces efficiently.
“The province isn’t destabilized. Even small security threats are encountered,” Deputy Police Chief Col. Abdul Razaq Qadiri told Pajhwok Afghan News.
Earlier, the insurgents were hampering security in Balkh, Chaharbolak, Chamtal, and Sholgar Districts but enhanced cooperation by the people and efficient role of the ALP helped thwarted those threats.  
After the deployment of 300 ALP officials to the districts, security parameters have been improved. They said that earlier the Mazar-i-Sharif- Shiberghan Highway used to come under frequent attacks, which have now been foiled.
Tilla Mohammad, a resident of Chamtal district said that armed Uzbeks are seen roaming in the area close to Sar-i-Pul and Jawzjan provinces. “The rebels force their way into the homes of the locals and then place mines on roads during the dark of nights,” he added.
Admitting the presence of armed rebels’ movement in the area, Qaderi said that the rebels are not able to enter face-to-face combat with the Afghan security forces.
It is widely said that the fighters of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) often sneak into the province from Faizabad, Jawzjan, and Shiram District of Sar-i-Pul into the Chamtal District of Balkh province. However, these movements have been reduced to great extent.
Qaderi said that criminal cases witnessed 30 percent reduction compared to last year in the province, adding however, that the locality experiences cases due to legal problems. 
Although there are no major security threats in the Balkh Province but the target killings by unidentified gunmen have raised concerns among the public, Atiqullah Hidayat, a resident of the provincial capital said.
He said several target killings acts took place during the current year with most of the times employees of the Education Department were their main target.
“Three school teachers in Chahar Kont District, head master of a school in Mazar-i-Sharif city, and a chancellor of Maulvana Jalaludin Mohammad Balkhi Private University are some example are subjected to target killings.”
Expressing optimism in improvement of security situation, Qaderi said that 95 percent police in the province go their professional trainings, which is still underway. He said that police behave with the people politely, which helped win the favour and confidence of the people.
He went on to say that the anti-corruption department of the police headquarter is taking serious steps to combat the administrative corruption. He said that officials and people are now unwilling to involve in corruption or get any bribe.
Brig. Gen. Mohammad Alim, counternarcotics manager at police headquarter said though attempts have been made to smuggle alcoholic beverages and drug but his department is vehemently striving to discourage the business.
Nearly, 3, 261 liters of alcoholic beverages, 1, 514 alcoholic beverages, and 25 liters of acid have been seized by the security forces last year.
Moreover, 728 kilograms hashish, 242 kilograms opium, 75 kilogram heroines, 43 kilogram henbane, and 2, 500 kilogram leafs of hashish were torched after being recovered by the security forces.
According to Alim, 293 people were detained in connection of smuggling of alcoholic beverages, which were seized by conducting as many as 237 various incidents. In addition, 42 vehicles, and 10 weapons of different brands were also seized.
He promised that his department is all set to intensify the drive against drugs and alcoholic smuggling.