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Road safety

Most of the villages and urban parts in the country are considered no-go area by many people. Even high-ranking officials who often claim of establishing writ of the government in restive provinces are found afraid to visit the areas without a convoy of troops or police. Afghans are worried by the exponentially growing insecurity because foreign-backed militants are thriving vigorously with substantial success in finding new financial sources and recruits. Once dependent on charity and alms, terrorist organizations now kidnap people for ransom and bargaining with the government to free detained fighters.

From Afghan Taliban to the Islamic State or Daesh, the terror groups are exhibiting their might at different corners of the country aimed to give the message that their backbone is still intact and they are standing firmly despite presence of sophisticated and well-equipped foreign troops for over decade. No matter how the authorities interpret this message but what matters most is to ensure safety of citizens and pluck whiskers of the insurgents.

Despite the fact that security forces are determined to fight till the very end in order to defeat militancy and restore law and order in insecure parts, Afghan highways are in the crosshair of insurgents. Vehicles are stopped at gunpoint and passengers are abducted in broad daylight. On Saturday around 3:00 pm the Taliban fighters wearing masks stopped and searched vehicles for government servants in Markoh area of Nangarhar province. It was not the first incident of such nature but several people were kidnapped earlier in Ghazni, Zabul and other provinces of the country and later their dead bodies were found.

Unfortunately, despite the haunting mishaps, seemingly the government has not engineered a comprehensive security mechanism to ensure travelers are not bothered by the violent creatures on highways. The mysterious silence of the authorities to address this serious challenge is proving the very point that they are trying to evade the issue. They ought to double security along the highly travelled highways and encourage people to report suspicious activities. However, it is not happening as people are worried for their lives and in some areas even provide shelter to insurgents.

Likewise, awareness of drivers is also important to reduce traffic accidents, because road safety is not only linked with ramping up security but responsible driving as well. As many as 18 people lost their lives when a bus plunged into a ravine on Sunday in Badghis. Reckless driving is killing scores of people every month and has become an order of the day. If security along the roads improved, it would also help the shattered tourism industry of the country to regain the lost colors and prove as a handsome source of revenue generation.

Moreover, success of the operations launched against anti-state elements depends on enhanced security of the highways because the terror groups ambush convoys and block roads to reduce effects of the offensives. Quick mobility is essential for success of any operation.

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