KABUL: Modern surveillance cameras will cover the streets of Kabul to contain militant attacks and crime, Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh announced on Wednesday.
Saleh has been tasked with improving Kabul’s security by President Ashraf Ghani, with violent crime on the rise. Dozens of attacks, including suicide blasts, rocket strikes and magnet bombs have been recorded in the city over the past few months.
“The space will become tighter for terrorists and thieves, not wider,” Saleh said during a government meeting.
He added that the project, worth $100 million to cover the city of 6 million people, is sponsored by US-led troops stationed in the country.
Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Aryan told Arab News that the new security cameras would enable security forces to have full control over Kabul and provide a “safe atmosphere for its people and narrow the activities of criminals and terrorists who want to derail public order.”
Rezwan Murad, Saleh’s chief spokesman, said the vice president had told Kabul’s police to draw up a new security plan to prevent the smuggling of weapons into the city.
He told Arab News hundreds of cameras would cover all parts of Kabul to help “annihilate crimes, theft and attacks by terrorists.” The soaring crime rate and attacks that have lately killed scores of people, Murad added, were intended to “discredit” the government in the eyes of the people.
The attacks, including a series of assassinations of civil society members and journalists, and a rise in assaults by the Taliban and Daesh across the country, have exposed the government to criticism that it is not protecting the public.
When Saleh assumed the new role in October, the government said his extensive security experience as the country’s former spy chief and ex-interior minister would help him bring the situation under control.
Last month, he announced that the size of Kabul’s police forces would be doubled to an estimated 40,000 officers, but gave no details on their employment or sources of funding.
However, his recent campaign of a mass manhunt of wanted criminals and militants in the capital has reportedly led to a series of arrests.
Experts say that his new surveillance network project may have some impact on boosting Kabul’s security, but it will depend on who uses the cameras.
“In the past, we did not have experienced and professional people using these cameras,” Attiqullah Amarkhail, a retired army general, told Arab News.
“Now, if the goal is to employ dedicated and professional people who know how to operate them, then this will be good, but if the purpose is to find jobs for friends and relatives to fill up these positions for salaries, then (the) impact will be negligible.”