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Passengers’ abduction: President, MPs urged to speed up rescue efforts

Abdul Zuhoor Qayomi

KABUL: Tens of civil society groups from Ghazni province on Monday protested against insecurity and snail-paced efforts of the government to rescue the 31 passengers who were kidnapped allegedly by the Islamic State (IS) or Daesh on Kabul-Kandahar highway. The protestors gathered behind the parliament here and accused the president and lawmakers of committing negligence in their duties entrusted by the country’s Constitution. Carrying placards and banners inscribed with slogans: “Mr. President, where are our 31 passengers?”, “Release our brothers” and “What the government is doing while Ghazni is burning?” they said the president and the legislators failed to ensure safety of public and their properties. The protestors said that fate of the 31 abducted passengers is uncertain because the government has failed to accelerate rescue efforts. Leading the protestors, Muhammad Aasif Sahar, a resident of Ghazni province, said the lawmakers and the president should speed up their efforts to secure release of the abductees. He said the government had to take the enemies, particularly the IS, as a serious threat. Sahar urged the security agencies to ramp up security measures in Ghazni and prevent the terror groups from achieving their nefarious goals. Qamar, mother of five children, said that her children were impatiently waiting to see their father Khuda Bakhsh released without any harm. Qamar said that her husband was only a roadside vendor but was abducted in Zabul. She said that her husband was shifting her sick nephew from Herat when kidnapped by the unknown gunmen. Qamar is from Ghor province but living in Dasht-e-Barchi area of Kabul for last eight years. She said that they don’t have even one kilogram flour to cook food for her children because her husband was the sole breadwinner. She asked the government to secure release of her husband and other passengers. All the abducted men are my relatives, said Malika Qasemi, a member of civil society organization from Ghazni. She said the relevant authorities should ensure safe and quick release of the abductees. Complaining about insecurity in Ghazni, Ms Qasemi said that they are facing insecurity because people are abducted or killed by the armed men but the concerned authorities are acting as spectators. She said that once eight persons were killed and soon after than 13 others were murdered. She went on saying that no one knows about his safe return to home after leaving for other provinces. Qasemi said abduction on Kandahar-Kabul highway has become an order of the day. Responding to a question, she told Afghanistan Times that only Nahor, Jaghori and Malistan districts are relatively peaceful while the rest of areas in Ghanzi are in the crosshair of insurgents. She urged the government to reopen the roads blocked by the armed men including IS, Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters.

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