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‘Bandits loot passengers in Paktia, police act as spectator’

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: Emboldened by the silence of security officials, bandits have started looting of passengers on the Gardez-Khost highway, not far from police checkpoints, drivers complained.

According to a report of Radio Azadi, robbery cases have drastically increased on the Gardez-Khost highway irking both passengers and drivers but the provincial administration of Paktia failed to apprehend the bandits and secure one of the busiest highways in the country.

The robbery cases are taking place between Gardez and Khwak district. The drivers told Radio Azadi that the bandits are plundering the passengers not far from police checkpoints which is “shocking” for them.

Three of the drivers complained that passengers face uncertainty, road blockage for hours and trade has been pushed to a standstill in the last three months.

“My cousin lost his expensive mobile phone and seven thousand [Pakistani] rupees,” a driver told the radio.

Drivers claim that they have registered several complaints about the robbery cases but situation remains the same, as the provincial authorities have turned a blind eye.

Security officials in the province acknowledged that bandits are active on the Gardez-Khost highway.

Police chief of Paktia province, Qadir Gul Zadran, said the police have taken steps to make sure the passengers and drivers had safe journey. He claimed that several attempts were made to arrest the criminals, but to no avail.

The police chief said that he had planned to increase police patrolling. The reports of robbery come when people in different provinces have complained about presence of bandits on major highways.

Security situation has become worst on the Gardez-Kabul and Ghazni- Gardez highways. Passengers feel unsafe while taking these highways as a route to their destination. Armed robberies speak volumes about performance of the provincial authorities and question efficiency of the central government.

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