Gardez-Patan highway blockade enters 4th day
GARDEZ (Pajhwok): Hundreds of trucks loaded with commercial goods remained stranded on the Gardez-Dand Patan highway in southeastern Paktia province for a fourth connective day on Thursday due to a dispute between Zazi and Mangal tribes.
The two tribes have blocked the road in their areas in the Mirzaka and Ahmadkhel districts for the last four days, leaving hundreds of vehicles stranded.
The dispute erupted after a Mangal tribesman was kidnapped with 200,000 afghanis cash and a car and was later found in a locality of Zazi tribe.
Zabit Khan, a driver, told Pajhwok Afghan News they had been without food and water for the last four days and were not sure as to when the road would be reopened.
He said if the government did not intervene and reopen the road, the stranded people would face an unbearable situation.
Qand Agha, another driver, said his truck was loaded with food items and fresh fruits and he would suffer hundreds of thousands of afghanis in losses if the road remained closed.
The drivers said they had met elders of the two tribes, but their talks faltered. They said government officials were yet to intervene to resolve the conflict.
Provincial chamber of commerce director, Mohammad Nasir Alamyar, demanded the government make efforts to clear the road so that businessmen avoided losses.
“We have been trying to win the status of a transit trade route for the Gardez-Patan highway, but such incidents will create problems to reach that goal,” he added.
The Gardez-Patan highway connects eight districts of Paktia and leads to Pakistan’s Kurram tribal region
Abdul Wali Sahi, the deputy governor, said talks with both the tribes were underway to end the dispute, which he said remained unclear.
He said the two tribes had entered an unknown dispute and both had blocked the road in their respective areas to get their demands accepted.
Leaders of the two tribes refused to talk to Pajhwok Afghan News.
There has been a history of disputes between Zazi and Mangal tribes over ownership of land and forests.
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