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Illegal gunmen seen behind insecurity in Mazar-i-Sharif

Illegal gunmen seen behind insecurity in Mazar-i-Sharif

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Jan 25, 2018 - 16:33

MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Residents and public representatives complain about the increasing number of illegal armed men in Mazar-i-Sharif, saying they are involved in most of criminal cases.

Juma Gul, a resident of the provincial capital, told Pajhwok Afghan News the number of illegal armed men had recently increased in the city. “You can see them at all intersections. People think as if something wrong has happened in the city.”

It is the responsibility of the government to check the movement of gunmen and take action against them, according to the man.

Haji Afzal, a shopkeeper at Tash Qurghan port, said at times they saw people like Daesh and Talibaninfo-icon in the city.

“They are in traditional dress and equipped with weapons -- their heads covered with scarves,” he said. The armed individuals accompany powerful figures in pick-ups. Also, they can be seen walking in the city.

He added the presence of such people had created fear among public members and the government was responsible for curbing the movement of such individuals in the interest of peace.

 Civil societyinfo-icon activists say if the armed men had beenappointed formally to provide security for certain figures, their movements should also be formalised.

Mehdi Arif, a civil society activist, said: “Whenever I see armed men in common dresses in the city, I wonder who they are.”

If tasked with security duties, they should be in formal uniforms, he suggested, stressing they should also have identity cards and licences for weapons.

Arif remarked the presence of gunmen had left Mazar-I-Sharif in a state of anarchy, asking the government to take steps for stopping them.

Similarly, a provincial council member Zabihullah Kakar told Pajhwok the government had chosen to be silent on the presence of illegal armed men in the city.

He claimed irresponsible armed men were involved in criminal and murder cases in Balkh. Kakar said he had shared the issue several times with the officials concerned but no action had been taken.

Security officials also confirmed the presence of illegal armed men but said the situation would not improve overnight.

Police spokesman Sher Jan Durrani said they had launched a campaign against cars with tinted glasses, robbers on motorcycles and non-custom-paid vehicles.

The security situation has improved in Mazar-i-Sharif, according to Durrani, who explained most of the gunmen were bodyguards of provincial council members and other powerful individuals.

People should help police detain irresponsible armed men roaming around the province, he said. “We are duty-bound to improve security and no one would be allowed to pose a threat to the city.”

Disbandment of Illegal Armed Groups (DIAG) officials in the northern region say 500 armed groups were registered with them. Only 150 of them have been disarmed so far.

mds/mud

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