Balkh court attack: Bribe sought from victim to get govt aid
MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): One of the families, who lost relatives to a coordinated Taliban attack on a court complex in northern Balkh province last year, alleges the officials concerned are demanding bribe in return for giving them the government assistance.
The attack that lasted seven hours in Mazar-i-Sharif left 21 people dead and another 76 injured in April 2015.
The attack also partially destroyed the appellant court’s building and its archives.
Families of the victims and public representatives blame police for failing to prevent the incident and say the assistance so far given to the affected families is equal to nothing.
Provincial security officials say one police officer has been arrested for negligence but investigation into all aspects of the attack is still ongoing.
Abdul Manan, a resident of Mazar-i-Sharif, said he lost his 37-year-old son Abdul Qayum to the attack.
The 65-year-old father said his son was a special police unit officer. He said the government had provided him 100,000 afghanis in compensation money, but called the assistance as insufficient.
Abdul Manan said he headed a family including his 55-year-old wife and six grandchildren while he had no job. He said his eldest grandchild was in fourth grade who needed his support to lead a life.
Abdul Manan said he was proud of his son’s police job, but he was not happy with the government for not properly paying attention to his family after his son’s death.
The father accused the Balkh police of carrying out a weak and protracted investigation into the incident that claimed his son’s life and urged the government to complete the investigation soon.
Muallim Yaqub, 55, a resident of Dasht-i-Shor area, was another person killed in the attack.
His son, Mohammad Haroon, 33, told Pajhwok Afghan News they had not received a single penny from the government on the account of his father’s death.
He said his father had gone to the court complex with regard to a case when the attack took place and he was also killed.
He said government officials had been demanding evidence of his father’s death in the attack and he had provided that proof, but still paid no assistance.
“The officials concerned were asking for 20,000 afghanis in bribe, but I refused and so far we are deprived of the aid,” he said, but did not name the department.
The provincial police chief, Sher Jan Durrani, who was also injured in the attack, expressed his happiness over the assistance he was paid.
He said the government had provided him 50,000 afghanis besides free treatment at the military hospital.
Balkh provincial council member Zabihullah Kakar told Pajhwok Afghan News the investigation so far done regarding the attack and the assistance so far given to families of the victims was nothing.
“The investigation by police ends with the arrest of the security guard who was manning the court gate,” the public representative said.
He said police should have investigated how the attackers were able to enter Mazar-i-Sharif and reach the court.
“I believe and I have information that the aid given to families of the victims cannot resolve their problems.”
But the acting governor’s spokesman, Munir Farhad, said families of the victims had been given cash assistance.
He said each family had been given 100,000 afs for the dead and 50,000 for the injured. He said the assistance was provided by the central government and the governor had also assisted the families.
The appellant court officials say the attack has extensively damaged the building and has destroyed the entire archives.
Violence against women’s section head at the provincial attorney’s office, Fauzia Hamidi, told Pajhwok Afghan News that one person, who was guarding the court gate, had been arrested so far in connection with the attack.
She said police investigating the incident had achieved no breakthrough. She said the attack not only led to the loss of previous lives, but also damaged the court building, disrupting their activities.
After the attack, the attorney’s office’s activities remained suspended for a month, she said, adding all furniture and the archives had been destroyed.
Currently the attorney’s office has been shifted to the old police headquarters building.
Balkh deputy police chief Col. Abdul Razaq Qaderi said the Taliban had claimed responsibility for the attack on the judicial complex.
He said some criminals had definitely a hand in enabling the attackers to reach the attorney’s office gate.
He said their investigation showed the attack had been planned outside of the country and executed by the Taliban with the help of local criminals.
“The guard who kept security at the gate has been arrested for negligence in duty,” Qaderi said, adding their investigation about criminals who assisted the attackers to reach the complex was still ongoing.
He said some investigation lasted long, but did not mean the investigation into the attack would not conclude. He promised early arrest of those who assisted the attackers.
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