GARDEZ (Pajhwok): Truck drivers in southeastern Paktia province are concerned about what they say the increasing incidents of armed robberies on highways.
The drivers say they have been many times stopped by armed robbers and deprived of money and valuables at gunpoint.
However, Paktia security officials say they have taken some measures to ensure security on highways and are making efforts to further enhance security on roads.
Mohammad Khan, a truck driver on the Gardez-Patan highway, told Pajhwok Afghan News he had been stopped by armed robbers several times on the road.
“I and other drivers have been looted by robbers several times. They take money, mobile phones and other things, there is no one to stop them.”
Another driver Rozi Uddin told Pajhwok he was looted by armed robbers a few days ago in Badam Kanda area of Sayed Karam district.
He says: “I was carrying food items in my vehicle four days ago when armed robbers stopped me at about 9pm in Badam Khanda area of Sayed Karam district. They robbed me of 5000 afghanis, a bag of rice, a tin of cooking oil and other food items.”
He said hundreds of trucks travelled on the highway daily but they encountered problems due to armed robbers.
Abdul Qayum, a resident of Sayed Karam district, told Pajhwok robbers looted him a few days ago on the highway at night.
He says: “We were taking a patient to hospital. It was night. Armed men intercepted our car in Badam Kanda area and deprived us of whatever we had.”
He said they informed security forces about the incident, but by the time the security forces arrived, the robbers had fled.
Several other residents of Paktia held similar views and urged security departments to increase patrols and establish security posts along the highways.
Paktia police spokesman Mohammad Omar Mukhlis told Pajhwok they had recently established new security checkpoints on the Gardez-Logar and Gardez-Patan highways.
He said new checkpoints would be set up in Ahmad Khel, Lija Mangal and Chamkani districts. He said ensuring security on highways was the government’s responsibility and the government was trying to fulfill this responsibility.
Mukhalis said security forces had many times arrested armed robbers and car hijackers in recent months and these efforts would continue.