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“The best day is the one when there are no casualties, nobody dies”

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Kabul, May 2013. “Know your soldiers, look out for their safety and well-being”. This is one of the rules on the wall of Deputy Minister of Interior Mohammad Ayoub Salangi. And he is a man who lives as he preaches: he wants to reach his men and women at the provinces and help them to work more efficiently and stay safe at the same time.

If General Salangi could choose, he wouldn’t spend his whole working day in the office inside the walls of the Ministry of interior. Instead he would love to go to even the most remote places in his country and meet police officers, learn about their needs and help them in capacity building.

But sometimes responsibilities force him to work long hours right there, in the office. The last Monday of April was one of those days. As the Minister of Interior, Mr. Mohammad Omer Daudzai, was abroad, General Salangi was the Acting Minister of Interior and at 10 am he was in the middle of the 8th meeting of that day. There was still 14 meeting on the schedule for that day.

However, it’s not the working environment or the number of meetings, which ultimately define the success and emotions after the day.

“Every day is a serious day, a serious matter for me. And the best day is the one, when there is no casualties, nobody dies”, general Salangi says. In a country where several policemen are killed nearly every week, that kind of day is definitively something to look forward for. 

It’s hardly surprising that general Salangi’s own life is constantly threatened and as a father of five he has to take care of the safety of his family. But Mohammad Ayoub Salangi has made his choice and bears the consequences, both pleasant and unpleasant ones: “For every human being there is a choice to be made: either you work just for yourself or you work for the others. I chose to work for others, for my country, but of course my family is important to me too.”

Like most of the fathers everywhere on this globe, Mohammad Ayoub Salangi hopes to leave a better world for his children and grandchildren. But he is not only hoping, he is also working for it. The first round of the presidential elections is a convincing proof, that Afghan National Police really has gone a long way and is able to deliver successfully, in a very professional way.

“The first round of the elections substantiated the commitment of the Afghan Security Forces to their work and the security of the country. We could also witness the fact that Afghan people wanted to vote. I went to the provinces to assess the situation myself and at first we saw that people were doubtful about the security and their possibilities to cast a vote in peace. But in the end they decided to do it and it was a success for the country and for the security forces”, Salangi says.

“We are fully prepared to secure the second round of the election, again in good cooperation with our international counterparts.”

Deputy Minister Salangi is very proud of the security measures taken under the Afghan ownership but at the same time he admits that the success derives from the long cooperation with the International Community.  “The capacity building during the last 13 years has brought us into a situation where we Afghans can secure our own country. I want to thank the nations that have sent their sons and daughters here, some of whom have lost their lives helping us, and I’m thankful for all the financial help we have received from abroad. That money and those sacrifices have not been wasted”, Salangi assures.

The Deputy Minister is especially grateful for EUPOL Mission for the very productive cooperation, for joint efforts in capacity building and all the equipment received by Afghan National Police. Also the knowledge about the way police works in various European countries is much appreciated by the Deputy Minister. His unambiguous wish is that the close cooperation will continue in the future.

“Cases like the Serena attack, the killing of a journalist and his family, were widely despised both in Afghanistan and in other countries. We need to fight terrorism together also hereafter.”

How to do that? Some guidelines and certainly something to reflect for every member of the Afghan police as well as everyone in the International Community can be found from the wall of Deputy Minister Salangi’s office. The list of the 11 Rules of Leadership – including the “Know your Soldiers” rule – begins with: “Know yourself and seek self-improvement”.  Equally important are the rules like “Be technically and tactically proficient” or “Seek responsibility and take responsibility of your actions”.

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