Taliban may bomb Ghormach bazaar, shopkeepers fear
MAIMANA (Pajhwok): Shopkeepers from the Ghormach district of northwestern Faryab province on Friday voiced fear the Taliban militants planned to plant bombs in the main bazaar after its fall.
Ghormach district, which was overrun by the militants on October 18, is still under their control a development that has been fuelling concerns among residents and shopkeepers.
Shopkeepers in the district bazaar told Pajhwok Afghan News the insurgents had warned them to shift their goods from shops before they planted bombs in the main market.
One of the shopkeepers, who wished to go unnamed, disclosed clients had already started staying away from to the bazaar for shopping after its capture by the militants.
“We have been purchasing goods on credits from businessmen in Maimana, the provincial capital, Heart City and Mazar-i-Sharif. However, we have fewer customers and have to take home much of our merchandise,” he added.
“All we want is normality; we have no problem whether the district is controlled by militants or the government. Being civilians, we do not want to be involved in politics,” commented another shopkeeper.
He urged the militants and the government not to turn the district centre into a battlefield. He asked both parties to let the people enjoy their normal lives.
But Mullah Obaidullah, the Taliban-designated district chief, denied plans to bomb the Ghormach bazaar, saying some businessmen, whose shops lacked security, had been told to take their goods home for a short time period.
He insisted the decision had been made in good faith to protect the goods from being torched or stolen. He rejected the impression that the bazaar might be destroyed.
On the other hand, the district’s administrative chief, Mohammad Asal, said that Taliban have set a three days deadline for shopkeepers to shifts their goods from shops.
Asal who is currently living in Maimana, claimed: “The Taliban have been ordered by their leaders to bomb the district bazaar,”
Residents of Ghormach may take their goods home, but shopkeepers from Qaisar district or Maimana could not do so, he explained, alleging the militants had ransacked some government facilities.
Acting Governor Mohammad Aslam Gadaz said the issue had been shared with the central government. However, he stopped short of saying what had been done so far to assuage shopkeepers’ concerns.
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