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Illegal armed men threaten Mazar-i-Sharif security

Illegal armed men threaten Mazar-i-Sharif security

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May 22, 2018 - 03:31

MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Unauthorized armed persons who are associated with political parties have been spreading insecurity in Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province, local residents say.

They say after the emergence of political tension between former governor Atta Mohammad Noor and President Ashraf Ghani, the number of unauthorized gunmen increased in Mazar-i-Sharif, giving a boost to insecurity and instability.

Hameed Safut, who heads Balkh civil societyinfo-icon group, told Pajhwok Afghan News that security of Mazar-i-Sharif had deteriorated compared to what it had been six months earlier.

Armed robberies, murder, clashes and kidnappings have increased in Mazar-i-Sharif, he said, linking the uptick in insecurity to the presence of unauthorized gunmen.

Safut said people were expecting improvement in the situation in Mazar-i-Sharif with the changes in the provincial civil and military leadership, but the things moved in reverse.

Ghulam Rasoul, a resident of the second police district, said “Mazar-i-Sharif has become a city without leadership.”

“Few days back, I was walking in the city when suddenly armed men stopped their vehicle near me and got out and took 8,000 afghanis after search,” he said.

He added armed men walked and traveled in Mazar-i-Sharif during broad daylight and nobody could stop them.

Rasoul said the government has been unable to stop illegal armed activities and disarm such people.

Provincial Council head Mohammad Afzal Hadid acknowledged people were in tension regarding the existing of illegal gunmen in Balkh.

He said unauthorized gunmen had increased in the city and they threatened people’s lives. He said the current security situation in Mazar-i-Sharif was unacceptable to its dwellers.

Hadid blamed recent security incidents in the city on illegal armed men and said these individuals had links with political parties. He, however, assured of improving the situation.

He said a meeting attended by representatives of political parties and government officials was held last week at the governor’s house about improving security situation in Mazar-i-Sharif.

The meeting decided that no one would be allowed in future to create security problems in the city.

But Mazar-I-Sharif residents say that criminal incidents involving illegal armed groups happened even after that meeting.

Mohammad Din, a resident of Karta-i-Bukhdi area, said robbers entered a shop four days back and killed a 20-years-old shopkeeper in the city.

Security officials confirm increasing crimes in Mazar-i-Sharif.

Balkh deputy police chief, Col. Abdur Razaq Qaderi confirmed recent security incidents in Mazar-i-Sharif but said they were serious about public protection.

He said Afghan security forces were busy in operations against militants in a number of Baklh districts, a situation misused by some persons for committing crimes in Mazar-i-Sharif.

He assured security would be fully restored in the city in near future. The garrison created for the city’s security would be given further authority and it would help improve the situation, he concluded.

nh/mds/ma

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