In Kabul, fear of war but also of organized crime

Afghanistan
Afghan men inspect the interior of a Shiite mosque a day after a suicide attack on the premises in Kabul on August 26, 2017. Shah Marai / AFP

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — A young teenager was stabbed in the face of a knife in the center of Kabul last month, fearing a surrender in a war-torn city that has long been occupied by organized crime.

Security personnel deployed along the road witnessed the incident, but did not intervene. The attackers fled on their motorcycle after they had stolen a mobile phone and a camera.

Witnesses say a businessman was killed inside his vehicle in the center of the city last week and the aggressors fled with his bag.

These crimes are added to a long list of killings, kidnappings and extortion, and the police appear to have nothing to do with their struggle against Taliban insurgents and Islamic state fighters.

A spokesman for the Afghan Chamber of Commerce, Jan Aka Naveed, told AFP that many businessmen fled for fear of becoming targets in turn.

“Some are transferring their families and their money to destinations like Turkey or Uzbekistan,” he says. He regrets the “negative impact of this investment reality,” but at the same time asserts that he has no figures on the crimes.

The figures owned by the security authorities are limited and poor in detail and background. Interior Minister Masoud Andrabi announced last week that 100,000 crimes had been recorded in the last five years, without giving further details on their nature.

– “More dangerous than terrorism” –

The authorities seem to be taking the issue seriously. On Saturday, the interior minister sacked the director of the criminal investigation branch in Kabul, Mohammed Salim Abbas, for “high rise” in capital crimes.

A member of the Kabul Provincial Council and the security committee Abdul Khaliq Zazai and Tendust that 70 people were killed and kidnapped dozens during the past two months.

“The crime is more dangerous than terrorism for the people of Kabul.” “Terrorism is a big problem, but we should at least control organized crime,” he said.

In addition to murders and kidnappings, car thefts are repeated, drug trafficking flourishes and criminal gangs settle their accounts by planting bombs under the cars of their rivals.

Shamsuddin told AFP, a trader who did not want to give his full name, that when he goes to the center of Kabul to buy goods, he divides his money into two parts.

“I give my son a section and leave a piece with me,” he says. “If the criminals find out you’re carrying money, they’ll kill you for stealing.”

– “Everyone is scornful of it” –

A number of anxious residents carry weapons as they move or change paths to work as they say.

Taxi drivers are afraid to work at night for fear of being attacked by a passenger or stealing their car.

“I’m not afraid of myself, but I am afraid of losing a car that I do not own because I work for someone else,” admits Mohamed Omar. “Nowadays, all Afghans are very worried.”

Organized crime returned to top priority last week when journalist Mena Mangal was assassinated in broad daylight on an active street. The premise of family crime is advanced, but even in a violent city, the killing has shocked.

“The security in Kabul is so bad that criminals kill people in broad daylight and everyone scoffs at it,” said Mohammed Elham on Facebook, a resident of the capital.

Every day, a “no-cause” person is killed in the capital, according to Nasir Ahmad, who also lives in Kabul.

The Interior Minister promised that “the police will move more aggressively against criminals.” “We know their hideouts and we will bring them to justice,” he said.

However, taxi driver Hazargol appears skeptical and considers the police to be “unable to do anything”. Even if they see thieves, they do not dare to pursue them because they are armed in their turn, “he said.

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