Afghanistan: Armed strangers roam freely on Kunduz streets: Residents

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By Hidayatullah Hamdard On Jul 05, 2015 – 18:15

KUNDUZ CITY (Pajhwok): The residents of northern Kunduz province on Sunday informed that strangers armed men roaming on streets in the provincial capital, creating fear among locals but the government was unable to question their identity.

According to local officials more than 7,000 illegal armed men were seen roaming in Kunduz province, creating chaos and sense of insecurity among residents of the locality.

The armed men are famous as “Arbakis” among Kunduz residents.

Arbaki is the tribal group that takes part in security of their locality without receiving any perks from the government. Now they are referred to the mercenaries that are supported by the government to fight insurgents, but are not part of the government.

After fighting in Chardara, Khan Abad districts and Gortapa locality illegal armed men flocked Kunduz city turning it into a military zone.

Majority of these men come from Khan Abad district without uniforms but fully armed and could be seen around markets and local departments.

Ezatullah, a resident of Kunduz, told Pajhwok Afghan News: “These gunmen without uniform and strange looks perform grotesque movements that terrorize people. They remind me of the civil war period 20 years ago.”

He added the government was using these Arbakis to fight Taliban but they run away from Taliban and brought chaos to the city.

Sayed Reza, a shopkeeper, said: “These armed men come to our shops to buy clothes. If I tell them price of a good at 500 afghanis they would only pay 300 afghanis. If we ask for the rest of our money they would threaten us with guns.”

He added the shopkeepers closed their shops earlier for fear of being looted by these people. Reza said now that few days were left for Eid celebrations they were supposed to be open until late night.

Abdul Maqsood, another resident, said: “Arbakis are roaming freely in the city, nobody can stop them.”

He expressed concerns that presence of these armed men would one day lead to clashes and insecurity in the city. According to residents, earlier police chief had ordered all check posts to prevent these people from entering the city, but after security situation deteriorated they could easily enter the city.

Kunduz provincial council also expressed concerns about the presence of illegal armed men.

Amruddin Wali, provincial council deputy head, said these armed men extorting money from residents and troubled them. “The government should disarm them as soon as possible.”

Sayed Sarwar Husseini, police spokesman, said they still haven’t received any complaints about these people creating trouble for residents. If they received such complaints, he added, they would take action.

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