MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Residents of Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province, say crimes including robberies and kidnappings have increased in the city, accusing local officials of their failure to control the situation.
A number of tribal elders and civil society activists also say the security situation in Mazar-i-Sharif has worsened.
On the other hand, Balkh governor’s house says it has accelerated efforts at controlling crimes in the city.
Shahn Shah Mandozai, a resident of Mazar-i-Sharif city, said that his nephew was killed after a verbal dispute in the city last week, but his murderers remained at large.
He said the local administration did not take any action to investigate about the case and punish the murderer.
“My nephew was killed in broad daylight but police arrested one of my sons while the murderers enjoy impunity and we do not know to whom should we complain,” he said.
A tribal elder of Balkh, Mohammad Zahir, said that the government should pay serious attention to increasing criminal cases in Mazar-i-Sharif city.
He said illegal armed men should be stopped from roaming in the city and the government should disarm them.
“Justice should be enforced and strongmen should be stopped, it is simply not acceptable when strongmen move freely while powerless people go to jails,” he said.
Zahir added police should be attentive to their responsibilities and take law violators to justice regardless of their ranks and political affiliation.
Civil society activist, Dr. Ghulam Rassoul Malakzai, said crimes including robberies and kidnappings had reached the peak.
He said despite repeated complaints from the public, there was no change in the situation and security officials failed to do anything.
He also said high presence of illegal armed men in Mazar-i-Sharif city was one of the reasons behind the increased crimes.
Balkh governor Farhad Azimi said that the local administration had taken effective measures for controlling crimes in Mazar-i-Sharif city.
Pointing to last week’s murder case, he said the person killed in the incident was an armed robber.
Azimi said they would still investigate the case and take lawful action on the regard.
Complaints about raising crimes in Mazar-i-Sharif come as dozens of residents of the city gather in front of the governor’s house on a daily basis and seek help of officials for the release of a nine-year-old boy who was kidnapped about a month ago.