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.
Balkh historical sites on focus of foreign and domestic tourists’ attention
The historical and ancient sites of Afghanistan’s Balkh province have attracted the attention of foreign and domestic tourists more than ever nowadays.
Foreign tourists say that Afghanistan, especially Balkh province has many undiscovered places and that is why they want to visit this province.
Beside the historical and ancient sites of Balkh province, the small museum of Hazrat Ali’s Shrine is one of other places where foreign tourists visit.
According to local officials, the domestic and foreign tourists visit the ancient and historical sites of Balkh, in Dawlatabad and Dihdadi districts of this province.
During their visit to Shrine of Hazrat Ali’s Museum, they said that Afghanistan is full of tourist attractions and people are more interested in traveling to this country and to come to this country for pilgrimage and tourism.
“If the government pay more attention, we have many interested Iranians who want to come to Afghanistan for pilgrimage and tourism,” said Azghar Mohammadi, an Iranian tourist.
Tourists also say that contrary to their previous views over Afghanistan, they have now found that the people of this country are hospitable, kind, and there is complete security.
“It is not a bad country from the point of view of being a tourist, it has good natural scenery, good sightseeing places because Afghanistan and Iran was once one country, its history, culture and civilization are not much different from Iran,” said Ali Jawad, another Iranian tourist.
Simultaneously, the officials at Shrine of Hazrat Ali Museum say that 50 foreign tourists have visited this museum since the beginning of the year.
According to them, this number shows the interest of foreign tourists in this province.
“From the beginning of this year until now, we have registered about 50 tourists who have visited the Roza Mubarak,” said Qayoum Ansari, the head of the museum.
The Museum of Hazrat Ali shrine was established in the seventies, where more than 1400 items of ancient artifacts have been showcased to the viewers.
Meanwhile, the lack of a standard museum in Balkh province is one of the most important challenges in the preservation of the ancient and historical works, which the province cultural experts have been complaining about for years.
Italian tourists visit historical sites in Afghanistan’s Balkh province
A group of Italian tourists visiting Balkh’s historical monuments said on Sunday security in Afghanistan has enabled them to visit Bamiyan, Herat and Kabul in the past nine days.
The tourists said they have had positive experiences in the country and have enjoyed their trip so far.
One of the tourists, who was wearing traditional menswear said: “I feel very good, I feel very comfortable in these Afghan clothes, these clothes are very good in hot weather, really these clothes are made for Afghanistan climate, when I go back to Italy again, I will use these clothes there as well.”
“I just came to Afghanistan and I am very happy to visit this beautiful country, really, what I had heard about the beauty of this country is exactly the same, I am really amazed to see this place,” said another tourist.
They said they have visited historical sites and have had the opportunity to experience the culture and customs of the Afghan people.
“I am really very happy to come to this country, a country with very old history and culture, I am really happy to be here,” said another Italian tourist.
Meanwhile, officials in the Balkh Department of Information and Culture report an increase in the number of domestic and foreign visitors.
Abdul Wahid Ahadi, Director of Tourism at the Department of Information and Culture in Balkh said in the first three months of this year, over 190 foreign tourists from around the world visited the province.
“Almost 191 foreign tourists have visited Balkh province, to see ancient tourist sites; they came from nearly 32 different countries of the world,” said Ahadi.
Balkh province has more than a hundred ancient and historical buildings, sites and areas – including the tomb of Hazrat Ali, the Khanqah of the father of Maulana Jalaluddin Mohammad Balkhi, and the tomb of Rabia Balkhi.
Two die of Congo fever in Balkh Central Hospital
Two patients died of Congo fever in Abu Ali Sinai Balkhi Hospital in Mazar-e-Sharif city, health officials said.
Reports of an outbreak of Congo fever have been recorded in a number of provinces in the north of the country.
Najibullah Tawana, head of public health of Balkh, announced the death of two people in the meeting of sectorial coordination to prevent and reduce diseases between humans and animals in the province.
“Last week, 10 cases of Congo disease were confirmed in Faryab and Jawzjan and [patients were] transferred to Abu Ali Sina Balkhi seminary hospital, but two of them have died,” said Tawana.
Meanwhile, Mawolavi Mohammad Nasim Abid, the deputy mayor of Mazar-e-Sharif, said that they monitor the cleanliness and compliance of butchers every day, and that animals are slaughtered in slaughterhouses built by this department.
According to him; standard facilities have been established for the slaughter of chickens to prevent the spread of various diseases.
Mawolavi Zabihullah Noorani, the head of Balkh culture and information, also asked the media to inform the people about the prevention of this disease and inform them about the harm of this deadly disease.
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