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Feeling unsafe, traders & well-off persons flee Parwan

Feeling unsafe, traders & well-off persons flee Parwan

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Dec 01, 2018 - 13:53

CHARIKARinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Around 100 businessmen and heads of government and non-governmental organizations have left central Parwan province due to threats like insecurity, extortion and armed robberies, a study has found.

Khwaja Rohullah Sediqui, the mayor of Charikar, Parwan’s capital, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the municipality conducted the study to know who fled Parwan.

“Our assessment is that heads of government institutions, lawmakers, provincial council members and businessmen have left Parwan with their families and wealth worth millions,” he said.

Some of these families have moved abroad but a majority of them have shifted to Kabulinfo-icon, the mayor said, adding tens of Parwan businessmen left due to security threats and transferred their wealth to other provinces such as Balkh, Kunduz, Herat and others.

Many of these families were forced to leave Parwan by illegal armed groups with some having connections in the government or top government officials.

About security forces’ reaction against individuals and groups behind insecurity and threats in Parwan, the mayor said: “Sometimes security organs also commit negligence. The insecurity has caused a social distress and has badly affected the province’s educationinfo-icon and economy sectors.”

Having no exact figures and facts about incidents of extortion and robbery in recent years, the mayor said 20 shops were robbed in Charikar City last year and over one million afghanis stolen from a local bank by three armed robbers this year.

Haseeba Efat, a Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon candidate and a former member of the Provincial Council, said in recent years incidents of robbery, extortion and hurling of hand grenades into homes of government officials had happened, acknowledging some individuals fled the province due to insecurity and threats.

She expressed concern over the capital flight and lack of business activity in the province.

Had no option but to leave Parwan: Affected persons

Some individuals, who left Parwan due to security threats, have accused security officials of their failure to overcome security issues.

Baz Mohammad, 50, who headed Beradaran-i-Jamshid Construction Company in Parwan, said he left Parwan due to security threats and extortions two years back and shifted to Kabul with his family.

“Some individuals demanded money, I ignored their demand, but one day they tossed a hand grenade into my house, injuring my four-year-old daughter,” he said.

He accused security officials of negligence and added tens of businessmen, government officials had left Parwan due to insecurity, extortion and other threats.

Ghulam Mohammad Ghiyasi, head of Parwan Urban Development Department, said he had been living in capital Kabul with his family for the past two years after leaving Parwan due to security threats.

“I would daily travel between Parwan and Kabul, it had been a tiring journey, but we had no other option,” he said.

Ghiyasi also said a number of other officials who faced similar problems as him had left Parwan with their families due to security problems.

“Intimidation is everywhere in Parwan, when a vehicle is stolen at gunpoint on a broad daylight in the heart of the city and when a child is kidnapped from an area just 100 meters away from the intelligence department, how can one live in such a province.”

He asked Parwan officials to improve security of the province so people and officials could live in peace here.

Mohammad Sabir Saffar, director of Ramz-i-Hasti Weekly and a civil societyinfo-icon activist in Parwan, said he was threatened after reporting about land grabbing.

He said once gunmen attacked him in Charikar city, but he was able to escape unhurt. “For a second time some people tried to crush me under their vehicle, but this time too I protected myself and survived.”

For a third time, Saffar said he was beaten by two men who wanted him not to expose land grabbers.

Without going into details, he said when he complained about the issue to government officials, the officials ignored him and advised him to refrain from publishing such reports.

“I was finally forced to leave Parwan and go to Turkey with my family, I currently live in Turkey,” he said.

Civil society activists’ concerns

Ahmad Hanayesh, head of Kahkashan Media Center and Civil Society in Parwan, said presence of illegal armed men and poor performance of the government were factors behind the deteriorated security situation in the province.

He said threats posed by strongmen to traders and government officials were high in Parwan than any other province of the country.

“There are reports that illegal armed men who threaten people have links with local commanders and strongmen who have relations with officials in the central government,” he said.

He added the government was taking no proper action against illegal armed people in Parwan where more than 2,000 Afghan forces are stationed who have not arrested even 10 illegal armed men so far.

“People do not feel safe in Parwan where criminals enjoy impunity on the back of strongmen,” he said.

Parwan governor Fazluddin Ayyar, who took charge a year ago, said they had inherited some security challenges from the past in the province.

However, he said he had ordered security forces to act according to the law against illegal armed individuals and extortionists.

Without giving details, he said dozens of extortionists and armed robbers had been arrested in the province and some others being chased.

About alleged support of government officials with illegal armed men, the governor said: “If illegal armed individuals and strongmen had no support, they would not have been able to commit such acts, we wish Parwan leaders get united against criminals.”

Parwan police chief Mohammad Mahfoz Walizada said 30 illegal armed men, 18 robbers and 20 drug smugglers were arrested since he took charge five months back.

He said two kidnappers were also arrested this year and a child who had been abducted was rescued.

mds/ma

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