PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Local and national Afghan officials, as well as hundreds of local citizens, welcomed newly-appointed Governor Mohib Ullah Samim to the province at his inauguration ceremony at the governor’s compound in the provincial capital of Sharana in Afghanistan’s Paktika province, this week.
“The central government has trusted me to work honestly, to work hard and to work for the people of this province,” said Samim, a native of Ghazni province.
“We have been given a chance to make this country better. The international community is willing to help Afghans succeed. With their help, we will bring peace to this province.”
Samim replaces Abdul Qayum Katawazay as governor of this large province in eastern Afghanistan. Katawazay, a brigadier general in the Afghan National Directorate of Security, has been named to the post of deputy director of the NDS and will be moving to Kabul.
Samim, who has a bachelor’s degree in linguistics and recently served as a publisher of a private magazine in Kabul, has experience working in provincial governance. Samim served as the Ghazni province’s director of information and culture and worked as a sub-governor in two Ghazni districts.
“This governor can help solve Paktika’s problems,” said Juma Mohammad, Paktika’s deputy governor. “He’s well-educated and knows about leadership and relationships. If we have good leadership, we can solve problems here in Paktika. The governor can’t do anything by himself. He needs the support of the people. It’s very important that the people and the government work together for Paktika’s future.”
In his remarks, Samim outlined his five priorities for governance in the province. They include tribal unity, education, including the education of women, instituting stronger internal management controls to combat corruption, security and reconciliation with anti-Afghan forces that are willing to negotiate.
“Everything is possible if the people help me,” Samim said. “Good governance is not hard for me, it’s easy. The people need to help me. The tribes need to help me. We will be working for reconstruction according to what the people need.”
During his speech, Samim reiterated his support for Afghan president Hamid Karzai’s priority to reach out to anti-Afghan forces and seek peace.
“To the Taliban I say, come to the government and talk. Let’s make it better for all of us. I will try to respect everyone. I will try to bring unity to all tribes. I will be working for unity on behalf of all people of Paktika province and my door is open 24 hours a day if you need me.”
By USAF 2nd Lt. Mark Lazane