Crime rate in Kabul rising despite govt’s assurances

KABUL (Tolo News): Residents in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul raised deep concerns over what they described as a surging rate of criminal cases in the city, saying in some cases police know who the criminals are, but they are not cracking down on them.

In a new incident, armed thieves injured an officer of the National Directorate of Security in PD3 of Kabul with bullets and then took his weapons and mobile phones. “All the people are tired of a few gangs,” said Shahabuddin, a street counselor in PD3 of Kabul. “Last night my uncle was seriously wounded with bullets and he was admitted to the hospital,” said Mohammad Siyar Nekzad, a relative of the NDS officer.

Meanwhile, armed thieves killed another young man in Surobi district of Kabul. “He was killed on a Ramadan day. This is totally an act of oppression, this is injustice,” said Omid, a relative of the victim. “He had done nothing bad to anyone. I don’t know why this has happened to him,” said Sher Shah, a relative of the victim. Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Aryan said: “Our intelligence agencies and our security forces are struggling hard to detect the crimes. The criminals on the run will be arrested soon.”

Meanwhile, Security officials said eight suspects have been arrested on charges of damaging power pylons with explosives over the last 10 days, cutting off electricity to parts of the city, which, along with inconveniencing residents, also has cut off power to hospitals aiding COVID-19 patients.

One pylon was damaged by an explosion in Kabul’s Ahmad Shah Baba Mina area in which three policemen were wounded and the pylon was partly damaged, according to the Ministry of Interior Affairs. So far, five power pylons have been attacked in the last 10 days, causing major electricity power outages, demonstrating how dependent the city is on imported electricity, which mostly comes from Central Asian countries.

“We arrested eight people and our (search) operations are underway. This group has links with militants,” said Tariq Aryan, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior Affairs. In the past two weeks, it has become common for Kabul residents to expect that a pylon has been blown up when they see the power in their houses gone.

Enayatullah, an employee of Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat, or DABS, the country’s only power company, said they started work on repairing the pylon in Kabul, and that damaging or destroying power pylons is national treason. “As you see, a group of us are working here to fix the foundation of the pylon and it will be finished soon,” he said. The pylon, according to Enayatullah, transmits power generated at Naghlo Dam in the east of Kabul – one of the few domestic resources for electricity in Afghanistan.

“The only goal of (the attackers) is to cut Kabul’s power. Previously, the attacks against pylons were done in the north of Kabul and now they have started in the east of the city,” said Ismail Khedmatgar, a Kabul resident, who says the explosion happened near his house. DABS officials have said that every year they spend millions on repairing power pylons that are either destroyed by militants or other armed men.