Taliban extorting money from truckers on Jawzjan highway
SHIBERGHAN (Pajhwok): Local officials say Taliban militants extort money from trucks loaded with food items on the Darzab-Shiberghan highway in northern Jawzjan province, a claim the Taliban reject.
Rahmatullah Hasher, the Darzab district chief, told Pajhwok Afghan News Taliban had established their posts on Darzab, Qush Tepa and Shiberghan roads, charging drivers according to their truckloads.
“This issue has faced Darzab residents with problems despite being poor,” he said, adding extortion had resulted in increased prices.
Meanwhile, residents of Darzab district also complained about an increase in food items’ prices. They said they could not tolerate the price-hike.
Abdul Qudusi, a resident, said Taliban harassed people on roads of the district. “The prices of food items have doubled, people with poor economy cannot afford to buy them,” he said, asking the government to resolve the problem.
Abdul Sammad, a resident of Qush Tapa district, also said prices of food items had been on the increase over the past two months.
“A tin of five liters of ghee which was previously sold at 500 afghanis is now costs 900 to 1,000 afghanis, the prices of overall food items are high,” he said.
He added shopkeepers argued they must increase prices because Taliban were extorting money from truck drivers.
The food prices would increase by three times if the security situation on the Shiberghan-Qush Tepa and Darzab roads did not improve, he said.
However, a Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid denied the extortion as government propaganda against militants.
“No Taliban member can do so, if any of them is involved in such actions, they would face serious reaction and would be expelled from the Taliban ranks,” he said.
Jawzjan governor’s spokesman, Mohammad Reza Ghafoori, confirmed the money extortion by Taliban and said the problem would be resolved as a clearing operation was being launched in the area in near future.
He said Taliban also stopped people on roads and harassed them under different excuses. Ghafoori assured the problem would be addressed soon.
Darzab and Qush Tepa are unstable districts of Jawzjan, located 105 kilometers west of Shiberghan, the provincial capital.
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