Kunduz traders warn of protest over mounting insecurity
KUNDUZ CITY (Pajhwok): Dozens of traders on Friday voiced their grave concern at increasing insecurity, including kidnappings, in northern Kunduz province.
During a protest meeting at the provincial council office in Kunduz City, the businessmen complained they had been unable to pursue their activities due to growing violence.
The continuance of the current situation was simply intolerable and unaffordable, they said, asking the provincial council to join hands with them in addressing the problem.
Urging the security institutions to take urgent action to stabilise the province, one of the businessmen said they had already shared the issue with police and the Chamber of Commerce and Industries.
Haji Ziaul Haq warned if the higher authorities in Kabul failed to provide them with adequate security, the traders and shopkeeper in Kunduz would resort to widespread protests.
Without giving details, he claimed one of his family members was recently kidnapped by unidentified gunmen but the government had done nothing to secure his release.
Mohamed Farid Qate, head of the Kunduz Workers Union, concurred traders and workers in the province felt insecure. They could not even send their children to school for fear of kidnappings, he said.
He blamed the security organs for failing to properly investigate the abduction incident. "There is no clue to the kidnappers and their motive remains a mystery,” Qate remarked.
The traders said insecurity was mounting in the province with each passing day, forcing them to scale down or stop their activity. But the administration, they alleged, had not yet measured up to the challenge.
On the other hand, local officials insisted they were trying their best to fix the problem. Governor Mohammad Omar Safi said some businessmen were hatching a conspiracy against him to promote their personal interests.
He acknowledged: “The security environment in Kunduz, where irresponsible gunmen are operating, has considerably deteriorated. We need time to address traders’ complaint and boost security.”
About two months ago, a Kunduz businessman was killed after being kidnapped. The murder sparked angry protests by businessmen, but the perpetrators are yet to be brought to justice.
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