While Balkh residents have welcomed house-to-house searches for illegal weapons, some have raised concerns about the lack of policewomen involved in the operations.
This comes after security institutions in the province launched a 10-day house-to-house search campaign three days ago.
Despite mixed reaction from the public, many residents have said security will improve once weapons have been confiscated.
“We have no problem with this house-to-house effort. We are satisfied with the Islamic Emirate that they have conducted house-to-house searches,” said Ahmad, a resident of Balkh Province.
But others are unhappy about the absence of policewomen, saying male members of households are not always home.
“Women should be with them when they go door-to-door. Second, their time should be clear; those who are employed, their women are alone at home, women should be with them [the police], women should be searched by women and men should be searched by men,” said Rabi, another resident of Balkh province.
Activists in Balkh have said house-to-house searches should be based on law so as to prevent any harassment by police.
But the Balkh police say that the campaign has been launched at the request of the people and that the security forces will not violate people’s rights during the search operation.
“At the request of the people of Mazar-e-Sharif, the security forces decided to form a commission to conduct house-to-house searches in Mazar-e-Sharif through three security agencies,” said Asif Waziri, the spokesman of the Balkh Province Police Command.
The governor of Balkh, however, asks political opponents of the Islamic Emirate to return to the country.
“NATO and the US on its side, ISAF, were not able to make the mercenary system (republic government) strong or resist or defend themselves against the limited number of Mujahideen,” said Qudratullah Abu Hamza, the governor of Balkh.
Six wounded in explosion in Balkh province
Residents of Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province, say that six people were injured in an explosion in the city on Wednesday morning.
Najibullah Tawana, head of public health for Balkh, said the six people who were injured have been taken to Balkh’s hospital.
Tawana reports that the wounded people are in stable condition, but said one victim lost his leg.
The explosion took place at around 11:30 on Wednesday morning in the Darwaz-e- Balkh area in PD4 of Mazar-e-Sharif.
However, Mohammad Asif Waziri, the spokesman for the security command for Balkh, said only one person was injured. He said the victim had been carrying the explosives at the time of the blast.
Balkh residents call on IEA to mark Nowruz festival
Residents of Balkh province on Thursday called on the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) to maintain the tradition of celebrating the new solar year as has been done for years.
Residents said that Nowruz celebrations are a tradition for Afghans and should be celebrated peacefully across Afghanistan.
“The festival was celebrated every year, it should also be celebrated this year. Our grandparents celebrated it every year. I call on Islamic Emirate to celebrate the festival,” said Mohammad Mustafa, a resident of Balkh.
“We call on Islamic Emirate to celebrate the new year. Visitors come from far to participate in the Nowruz festival,” said Mohammad Karim, another resident of Balkh.
Mazar-e-Sharif municipality, however, said that they have made preparations for Nowruz which is on March 21.
“People come for tourism here, it is a green city. No problems will exist, but it will be different,” said Qudratullah Tariq, Mazar-e-Sharif’s mayor.
Cultural experts also called for Nowruz celebrations to go ahead.
However, with only four days to go to Nowruz, few preparations have been made to usher in the new year.
Mazar Municipality prepares for Nowruz festival
Officials from Mazar-e-Sharif Municipality said on Thursday that preparations are underway for the upcoming Nowruz festival, which marks the start of the new Persian Solar Year.
The main Nowruz festival in Afghanistan is traditionally held around March 21 in Mazar in northern Balkh province.
“We are completely prepared,” said Mawlavi Mohammad Nasim Abid, deputy head of Mazar Municipality.
He said the city is currently being cleaned up and that the municipality “ensures our people that we made preparations and there are no problems regarding security.”
Afghans have meanwhile called on the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) to allow Nowruz celebrations to go ahead.
We “urge the government of Islamic Emirate to mark the Nowruz festival as it was marked in the past years,” said Mohammad Asif, a resident of Mazar.
IEA officials meanwhile said that there are two Eids for Muslims, and that Nowruz celebrations are not necessary.
“Our leaders have not talked about the Nowruz celebration so far. Preparation for this big festival is too soon,” said Balil Karimi, deputy spokesman of IEA.
Afghan Wireless Communication Company (AWCC) in coordination with Mazar Municipality has meanwhile stepped in again this year to help prepare the city for Nowruz.
The company has helped clean up the Hazrat Ali Shrine in Mazar.
“We work for the city’s greenery every year, and clean corners of Rawza-e-Mubarak. Our preparations are completed,” said Yafiz Saqat, a representative of AWCC in Balkh.
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