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Kabul-Bamyan highway insecurity impedes Eid travel, residents say

Kabul-Bamyan highway insecurity impedes Eid travel, residents say

Nov 07, 2011 - 17:09

BAMYAN CITY (PANinfo-icon): Some government and non-governmental officials in central Bamyan province, whose families live in Kabulinfo-icon, complain of insecurity on the Kabul-Bamyan highway, saying they cannot travel to the capital to join their families during Eid days.

There are three roads linking Bamyan with Kabul, running through Maidan Wardak, the Ghorband Valley of central Parwan province, and the Doshi district of northern Baghlan province.

But some officials say the roads are not secure, and they fear Talibaninfo-icon attacks on the way to Kabul. However, some others come down to Kabul through western Ghorinfo-icon and Herat provinces, experiencing problems and financial losses.

Hamidullah, an employee of the Bamyan Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled Directorate, said he would be unable to travel to Kabul for Eidul Adha because of lack of highway security.

He has a low salary and, therefore, could not afford to pay fares through the impassable routes of Ghor and Herat, he complained, saying many other people like him had to spend the festival in Bamyan.

There is no private air travel facility in the province and only the International Security Assistance Force (ISAFinfo-icon), United Nations Assistance Mission for Afghanistaninfo-icon (UNAMA) and the Ministry of Defence operate chartered flights from and to Bamyan. No mid-ranking staff can benefit from the service.

Mohammad Sharif, the director of the environmentinfo-icon protection agency, said it was difficult for him to fly to Kabul and, therefore, he would also stay there during Eid.

Haji Suleman Mirzaee, the Waras district chief, said he would think about travelling to his residence for Eid, as he was unsure of safe travel to Kabul. “Insecurity on highways is not only a problem for employees, but also ordinary people," he added.

Mohammad Iqbal, a worker, said: “There are no flights and roads are insecure. We don’t know what to do.” He decided to travel to Kabul through Ghor and Herat along with four other NGO employees.

It takes two days and a night to travel the route. If the Bamyan-Maidan Wardak or Ghorband highway was safe, it would take only a night to reach Kabul. In addition to the time factor, travelling the first route costs $208.3 (10,000 afghanis) and the second $6.6 (200 afs).

Brig. Gen. Juma Guldi Yardam, the provincial police chief, confirmed the problem, saying all roads leading to Kabul were unsafe. “Bamyan is in the grip of insecurity and even the ordinary people travel in fear on the highways.”

Some Bamyan-based government servants, whose families live in other provinces, are trying to be posted elsewhere. Even some Kabul-Bamyan drivers, who travel through Parwan, say: "On reaching the Siagird area, they say Kalima before passing the area, fearing they could be attacked any moment."

Shah Wali Shahid, the Parwan deputy governor, said 15 people, including security forces and passers-by, have been killed on the highway since the assassination of the Bamyan provincial council chief. The dead also included four policemen who were travelling from Ghor to Kabul in plainclothes.

Col. Juma Khan, the Sheikh Ali district police chief, the nearest security institution to Siagird, said top local officials, including the governor, had been to the area and decided to set up three checkposts there in the near future.

Abdul Rahman Ahmadi, the Bamyan governor’s spokesman, called insecurity was a major problem for the residents of Daikundi and Bamyan. He said they had shared the issue with high-ranking officials time and again.

Gen. Mohammad Nader Fahimi, the deputy police chief for the 202nd Regional Shamshad Zone, said they had deployed 100 local policemen in the Ghorband Valley a week ago. If required, an Afghan National Army (ANA) division would be dispatched to the area so that people could feel safe, he added.




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