Governor of poverty-stricken Afghan province quits as security worsens

January 25, 2018 13:55
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LASHAR GAH, Afghanistan - The governor of the western Afghan province of Farah resigned on Thursday after months of mounting insecurity that have fueled protests by residents fearful that the Taliban could threaten the provincial capital.

Mohammad Aref Shah Jahan blamed political interference and corruption among security forces in the province, on the frontier with Iran in the far west of the country.

"I have resigned from my post because of the worsening security situation in Farah," he told reporters, adding that there had been "interference in my responsibilities from various individuals."

Although Afghan and US military commanders have expressed growing optimism about battlefield successes against the Taliban, backed by increased American air strikes, the problems in Farah show how unstable security remains in many areas.

Farah, one of the poorest provinces in Afghanistan, has seen months of fighting and accusations of collusion between some units in the police and the Taliban, fueled by cross-border smuggling and drug trafficking.

Jahan's resignation underscored how President Ashraf Ghani's government, currently engaged in an unrelated standoff with the powerful governor of Balkh province in the north, has struggled to maintain control in many areas outside the capital Kabul.

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