Taliban shut bazaar, threaten shopkeepers
GHAZNI CITY (Pajhwok): Taliban insurgents have ordered closed the Waghaz district bazaar in southern Ghazni province and have threatened shopkeepers with death, an official said on Wednesday.
Taliban hold sway in much of Waghaz except the district centre and a nearby village, Sher Godal. The town’s head Abdul Azim Farooqi told Pajhwok Afghan News shopkeepers had closed their shops after receiving death threats.
He said the entire bazaar had been closed and residents travelled to Ghazni City, the provincial capital, to buy daily-use items. “The Taliban have closed the bazaar under the pretext that local police buy daily-use items from the shops.”
Farooqi added: “We have urged the shopkeepers to come and open their shops, but they are scared. A few small shops are open near the district bazaar in Sher Godal village.”
To a question why the Taliban’s threat could not be answered, the district chief said: “In addition to local insurgents, a large number of foreign fighters operate in the district and they threaten people and do not allow them to work.”
This scribe asked him another similar question, but the district chief had no convincing answer.
Mohammad Anwar, one of the affected shopkeepers, said he closed his shop after the Taliban ordered him to do so. “They visited my house several times to tell me to close my shop and finally they threatened me with death.”
He said the Taliban would argue police bought goods and fulfilled their needs from the shops.
Sharifullah, who runs a shop in Sher Godala area, said the area was under government’s control, but he had also received threats from Taliban.
“They have sent me messages through different sources. They say police use to buy things from my shop and I should close it. What I would do if I close my shop?” he said.
He said thousands of families in several nearby villages depended on the only five small shops in Sher Godal area.
Pajhwok tried to find more owners of the closed shops in Waghiz bazaar, but found only crumbled walls all around.
Provincial council member Hamidullah Sarwari told Pajhwok Afghan News closure of the bazaar had created many problems for residents.
“People go through hardships bringing daily-use items from Ghazni City,” he said, adding if security in the district was improved, it would encourage shopkeepers to reopen their shops.
The Taliban have so far said nothing about closing the bazaar. The district chief had previously told Pajhwok Afghan News hundreds of insurgents, including Pakistanis, have been operating in the district over the past 13 years.
Two days ago, Ghazni police chief Brig. Gen. Zarawar Zahid said security problems existed in Waghaz, where police would establish security posts soon.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.