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    Paktia police accused of taking bribes from drivers

    GARDEZ (PAN): Truck drivers have accused highways police of taking money from them illegally in southeastern Paktia province.

    Police manning checkpoints along highways took money from truck drivers for different reasons, owner of a truck, Jamal, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

    He alleged police on duty on the Khost-Gardez and Gardez-Ghazni highways were more merciless in this regard.  "I have to pay about 5,000afs to police in bribe on my way from Ghulam Khan to Kabul," he said.

    “I earn my livelihood by driving since long. I did not pay such huge amount even during the Mujahiddin era as much I pay to police in Karzai's rule," the driver said.

    Another truck driver, Syed Marjan, said he was carrying goods from Khost province to Gardez, where police deprived him of 3,000afs on the pretext of tax at various checkpoints.

    “When we take loaded cargoes from Ghulam Khan area to Gardez, we have to pay money to police, otherwise they stop us for hours,” he added.

    A car dealer, Khan Mohammad, said he brought cars from Herat to his showrooms in Gardez and Khost City, but he had to give money to policemen on the highway. "Otherwise, it takes me several days to reach my destination," he said.

    Police chief Abdul Ghafar Safi confirmed some policemen had been involved in accepting bribes, but said the problem was not that much serious and was presented in an exaggerated form by drivers.

    The police chief said they had taken stern measures to prevent bribe-taking and used to transfer personnel at each checkpoint every second week in compliance with the interior ministry's instructions.

    “I don’t deny that bribes are being taken on highways. It is possible that some security personnel of districts, Afghan National Army (ANA) and highway police are asking for money from driver in some cases,” he said.

    He warned to punish such officials if recognised.

    myn/ma



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