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    Daikundi residents live under extortionists’ shadow

    BAMYAN (PAN): An extortionist group had been terrorising local residents to pay illegal taxes, thus forcing many fearing families to abandon their homes in the Ashtarali district of central Daikundi province, an official said on Thursday.  

    The group, headed by a criminal known as Esmatullah, is active in Korga area of the district, resident Haji Yasin told Pajhwok Afghan News.  

    The gang collects illegal taxes between 50,000 to 100,000 afs, he said, adding that if any one refused to pay they would threaten to kill them.  

    He said 13 families, including his own, left the village and living in Neili, the provincial capital, over the past one year.

    Yasin added they could not return to their homes because of the group’s intimidations, especially Esmatullah, who had committed dozens of crimes.

    Over the past few days, he said the armed-group had forcibly extorted nearly 500,000 afs from the people in Sareska village of the district.

    "We have submitted complaints to the police and provincial council to protect us from this man because people can't fight him, but the issue remained unaddressed,” he said.

    Provincial council member, Hadi Rahimi, confirmed receiving complaints from the people regarding the gang’s extortion activities and had notified the security officials.

     He added Esmatullah was involved in killing two policemen.

    Police chief Brig. Gen. Abdur Razaq told Pajhwok that the gang members managed to easily escape the police dragnet because they live in mountainous areas.

    He added: "Esmatullah is a criminal and a drug addict who troubles people but police are trying to rescue the people and arrest him."