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Torkham border police extorting money from truckers

Torkham border police extorting money from truckers

May 30, 2017 - 15:25

JALALABAD (Pajhwok): A number of truck drivers alleged that border police personnel in the Torkham town of eastern Nangarhar province are extorting money from them.

They say trucks loaded with goods, forced to park for days in the township, were not permitted to cross the border. If the drivers refuse to pay bribes, their vehicles would not move.

However, border police officials said they were responsible for law enforcement but some individuals, when compelled to comply with rules, started maligning them.

Cargo truck drivers claim they are forced to pay 10,000 Pakistani rupees to Rs50,000 in bribe per vehicle.

Mirwais, one of the truckers, says: “Those who pay 50,000 Pakistani rupees are allowed to cross the border. But those who refuse to pay will have their vehicles parked for days.”

He told Pajhwok Afghan News that his truck was kept parked for 13 days in the township as he refused paying bribes.

Ahmad Shah, who truck was packed with flooring slates, had a similar complaint. “I have been here for the 15th day. If I pay police officers, they would allow me to go immediately.

“But if I don’t, they would do not allow me to go across the border,” Shah grumbled. The truckers warned of closing their business if the government did not resolve their problem.

Nangarhar Customs Director Ilhamuddin Mazhar confirmed the high-handedness of some irresponsible men in Torkham, but said the problem had been resolved to some extent.

He said a delegation from the governor’s house, led by him, had taken decisive steps to address the drivers’ complaints. But he made clear no evidence of bribes was offered by truckers.

“We have heard of complaints about extortions, but when we visited Torkham no one offered any proof. There may be problems, but the overall situation is under control,” he said.

Idris Momand, spokesman for first border police brigade, said no one was allowed to extort money from drivers.

“The main issue is law enforcement. When truck drivers are asked to wait for their turns, they raise complaints. if anyone has evidence of corruption they can share it with us.

“We do not defend corrupt individuals and will bring them to justice in case solid evidence is produced against them,” he promised.



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