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Afghan governance: more Judge Dredd than Jefferson

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The need for an effective police command became clear in April of last year when a suicide bomber managed to infiltrate police headquarters in Kandahar and killed then police chief Gen. Khan Mohammad Mujahid. Raziq, who was commander of the border police in Kandahar’s Spin Boldak district at the time and a close ally of the US, was brought in to replace him.

About three months later, Ahmad Wali Karzai, half-brother to the president, was gunned down by someone from his inner circle.

Enter Judge Dredd

Having overshadowed most government institutions, Mr. Karzai's death created a power vacuum that many feared could cause Kandahar to fall into a downward spiral. Some Kandaharis hoped that his death might pave the way for the government, rather than another strongman, to regain control of political life in the south. 

However, locals now say that Raziq, along with top officials from the Afghan Army and Afghanistan’s intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security, have stepped into fill the void outside the framework of the law.

Among Raziq’s supporters, he has developed a reputation as an aggressive and responsive police chief who does not hesitate to take action against insurgents. Among his detractors, he’s viewed as something closer to Sylvester Stallone's Judge Dredd; a one-man police officer, judge, jury, and executioner. Among Kandaharis, there’s a popular rumor that when Raziq captures Taliban insurgents he often orders them killed rather than taking them to court, where a corrupt and inefficient judicial system might release them, only to instigate violence once more.

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