HERAT CITY (Pajhwok): Hundreds of cargo truck drivers on Sunday protested in western Herat province against what they called police extortion on the Herat-Farah highway.
Nearly 3,000 drivers attended the protest rally and closed the Herat-Kandahar highway, complaining police coerce them into paying illegal money on the Farah highway.
Abdul Wadood, a cargo truck driver, said: “Since Wednesday at least 3,000 vehicles remained parked. Our main complaint is that police at checkpoints demand 3,000 to 5,000 afghanis from a truck on the route.”
He said they had shared the issue with local officials concerned but no action was taken.“We urge the government to replace police with Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers on the highway otherwise we would not reopen the road,” he added.
Sheer Ahmad, another driver, whose fuel tanker has been stranded in Mir Daud area of Herat City for the past four days, said there were two police checkpoints on the Farah highway and they beat drivers and took bribe.
He added the two checkpoints located in Farahrod district took 1,000 or 2,000 afghanis from each truck.
“Police pull a driver off his vehicle and put a headscarf around his head until he pays the money,” said Nasratuddin.
He claimed police would previously demand only 20 afghanis from truckers but currently they charged 5,000 afs. “If a driver refuses to pay money, the police open fire at his vehicle and damage it.”
Jilani Farhad, the governor’s spokesman, said a meeting would be held between protesting drivers and security officials to address the issue.
Farah police spokesman Mohibullah Mohib said serious inspection would be launched on the Farah highway and violators would be dealt with sternly.