Editor in Chief: Dr. Hussain Yasa Thursday, January 19th, 2017

Insecurity Crisis Undermined Social and Economic Activities

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Insecurity Crisis Undermined Social and Economic Activities

Kabul is immersed in successive and paralyzing social and political crisis unprecedented in last 15 years. The Afghan capital is inundated with organized criminal gangs who stage kidnappings for ransom, often targeting foreigners and wealthy Afghans, and sometimes handing them over to armed groups. There is very high concern about the security situation not just for wealthy Afghans and foreigners but ordinary people also suffering from social crimes and it’s really because the economy is so bad … there are not enough jobs and so people have turned to crime. It is a real concern for people in Kabul and around the country because kidnapping has become a lucrative business. Social insecurity such as robbery, kidnapping and explosions in all parts of the country including the capital has become a common practice. Consequently, the daily social insecurity and insurgent military operations have undermined reconstruction efforts, humanitarian aids and restricted business activity in Kabul.
Recently, an Australian woman working for Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief and Development (ACBAR) was kidnapped in the Qala Fatehullah area, Abdul Rahman Rahimi, police chief of Kabul, told journalists at a press conference. He added police were investigating the incident and launched effort for her recovery but not yet found the victim. He assured that police would arrest the kidnappers in the near future as they made lots of progress in one night.  It is said that the kidnapped Australian woman was of Afghan origin. Australian foreign ministry also confirmed that the Australian woman was kidnapped in the Afghan capital on Saturday. Still, there was no official word by Afghan authorities on the incident and no group including the anti-government armed militant groups has so far claimed responsibility behind the abduction of the woman.
Similarly, a series of local and expatriate abductions have been occurring in the same year. Previously, Indian female aid worker was abducted from the vicinity of same area by unknown gunmen. However, the female aid worker, Judith D’Souza, was released late in the month of July and reunited with her family members by safely returning to India. Other foreigners, such as two foreign professors, one from the US and one from Australia, have been kidnapped in the Afghan capital Kabul, while the condition remained unknown. In addition, many of Kabul residents criticized what they called an increase in crime in the city. It is said that abductions are mostly done by powerful criminals and powerbrokers; they come in armoured vehicles and kidnap people while no one can stop them. According to figures by Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI), over 80 businessmen have been kidnapped this year alone. "Unfortunately, despite measures by security agencies, businessmen are killed or kidnapped and they pay money to be released," said ACCI spokesman Siyam Pesarlai.
The condition is almost similar throughout the country; six tourists were injured in western Afghanistan when a rocket struck the vans they were traveling in. The Taliban claimed responsibility for that attack, which occurred in Herat province.  Rash of kidnappings and Taliban bombings have heightened security fears all over the country including capital city.  The United States already had warned its citizens in Afghanistan of a "very high" kidnapping risk after an American narrowly escaped abduction in the heart of Kabul. It is said that US and other diplomats have been barred from traveling by road the short distance from the city's international airport to their diplomatic missions. Instead, they've been ferried by helicopter. Many countries, including the US and UK, have longstanding travel advisories warning against all but essential travel to Afghanistan due to the security situation throughout the country.
The insecurity fears exacerbated amongst people after the media broadcast that the terrorists from Syria and Iraq will likely be ousted to Afghanistan as pressures on the rise due the military operations. Recently, Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan has also warned during an interview with the Japanese journalists in the run-up to his official visit to Japan. “The more pressure on those terrorists in Iraq and Syria, the more they are eager to leave for Afghanistan,” Nazarbayev said. At the same time, he noted that no threat existed for regional security so far, saying “there are not any visible threats as of today, there are no such fears.” “Turkmenistan has the longest border with Afghanistan, followed by Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. As far as I know, everything is calm in those states, but they have been taking some measures,” he said.
The remarks by Nazarbayev came as there are concerns that the terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan are attempting to expand their insurgency to the Central Asian countries. The Central Asian leaders as well as Russia are mainly concerned regarding the attempts made by ISIS loyalists to expand foothold in the country despite the Afghan and US forces conduct counter-insurgency operations to eliminate the terror group. The Afghan and coalition forces officials earlier warned that the ISIS loyalists are attempting to turn the Nangarhar province into a regional operational base and establish the Khurasan Caliphate in the region.
The Afghan Nation Unity Government must be warned that Afghanistan has already begun returning to the past; they would be responsible for losing all the values and political achievements obtained within past 15 years at cost of millions of Afghan martyred youth’s life.  On the other hand, it is also modifiable that an insecure Afghanistan is not only threat to Afghan but also a proper bed for growing international terrorism!

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the newly emerging writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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