KUNDUZ -- Co-operation with police is increasing public trust in security institutions and helping prevent crime and terrorist incidents, say residents of Kunduz city.
The security forces' success in repelling the Taliban's attempts to seize Kunduz city on May 19 further solidified that trust.
Discussions, meetings, seminars and awareness-raising campaigns held by various security agencies have helped build trust between civilians and the security forces, said Mohammad Yusuf Ayubi, chairman of the Kunduz provincial council.
"Our forces have shown that they can foil any type of attack, and they have made civilians' lives easier as they work hard with honesty day and night to ensure security," he said.
The Afghan National Police ensure security in society, and public co-operation can help police succeed in carrying out their duties, said Kunduz Police Chief Gen. Abdul Rashid Bashir.
"Every police officer has to treat every citizen with respect so that confidence between civilians and the security forces can grow," he said.
"Our slogan reads, 'Police are servants of the society', and it reveals that we have prepared ourselves to serve our people and country," he said.
The Taliban captured Kunduz city twice for short periods in 2015 and 2016, and during those periods civilian criticism of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) increased.
Now, that sentiment has changed and residents are helping the security forces by providing information on terrorists, drug dealers and other criminals.
"On March 8, civilians reported to police two roadside mines that were placed by unknown individuals in District 4 of Kunduz city and helped prevent a bloody incident," said Abdul Raqib Faqirzada, a resident of the city.
"With civilians' help on March 22, police arrested two drug dealers and seized 34kg of narcotics that were kept in a house in District 3 of Kunduz city and intended to be distributed to [drug dealers] in the city," he said.
Esmatullah Masoomyar, a tribal elder in Kunduz Province, said he witnessed several instances where residents "reported suspects to the security forces".
"When police get help from the public, they will be encouraged to better serve it," he said.
"The government and public have a key and fundamental role in bringing security, and every citizen has a national and ethical obligation to contribute to achieving security," said Ziaulhaq Ziayee, a resident of Kunduz city whose then six-year-old son was kidnapped in July 2015.
"I realised the importance of the security forces when they found the kidnappers' hideout and released my son," he said.
"Lack of co-operation between the public and police was one of the major reasons behind many abductions and armed robberies in Kunduz Province in the past," he said.
"Civilians didn't have any ties with police, or they didn't have the courage to contact them, but fortunately now they have the opportunity to get their message across to authorities," Ziayee said.
"The recent increase in public co-operation [with security forces] has helped prevent horrible incidents in Kunduz," he said.
Notorious criminals behind bars
A number of notorious criminals have been arrested with civilians' help, said Hejratullah Akbari, a spokesman for the Kunduz Police Department.
"During the previous solar year [March 2019-March 2020], we were able to arrest nearly 500 criminals wanted by the Kunduz Appellate Prosecutor's Office with the help of local residents of Kunduz city and districts of Kunduz Province," he said.
"The arrested criminals were involved in cases of abduction, murder, armed robbery, sexual assault, land grabbing, drug trafficking, harassment and other crimes," he said.
"There were even [convicted offenders] among those arrested who were sentenced to 20 years in jail, but they were freely moving around in Kunduz city because they were local strongmen having ties to mafia circles," he said.
"Police call on civilians to inform them if they see or suspect that someone intends to destroy or set fire to a mosque, school, road or any other public property so that we can prevent any terrible incidents," he said.
"We expect the public to inform us by calling the 119 toll-free number if it comes across suspects who are putting public safety at risk," said Abdul Qader, a police officer in District 1 of Kunduz city.