Life is yet to return to normal in Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul, as the city is still reeling from the multiple terror attacks it endured in January. Residents are on edge and people have limited their movements around the city for fear of another terror attack, reports indicate.
“People are feeling vulnerable to go about their day-to-day life,” John Iliffe, who works with a non-governmental organisation in Kabul, told PBS. At street markets, “you see some poor guy trying to sell balloons or water cans cowering in a corner.”
“There’s really no social life in Kabul anymore,” he added.
The past two months have seen an increase in the number of attacks by Taliban and Islamic state insurgents. On January 28, an ambulance was used as a vehicle-borne explosive device near Sidarat Square, killing at least 103 and injuring 235 others. The Kabul Intercontinental Hotel was also under siege for more than 12 hours where gunmen roamed through hotel rooms looking for foreigners. A car bomb attack at Save the Children’s offices in Jalalabad and a rampage on a military academy in Kabul also rocked the nation last month.
Paramedics under scrutiny
Ambulance services have been hit following the January 28 attacks.
Zemari Khan, an ambulance driver in Kabul, told the Guardian that he has had to open the rear door of his ambulance at a checkpoint so that a police officer could check if his patient was real.
“Police were very nervous with me,” Khan said. “When I moved half a metre forward by mistake, an officer rammed the butt of his gun against my windshield. It makes me so sad. My patient was suffering. Ambulances used to have respect, but now everyone is suspicious of us.”
There has also been a decline in the number of patients calling for ambulances. Many people now prefer using taxis as there are no long invasive searches at checkpoints, say ambulance drivers.
Afghanistan as well as the US government have put the blame for these attacks on Pakistan. They blame Pakistan for providing safe haven for insurgent groups, however, Pakistan says it has eliminated all terrorists a along the border it shares with Afghanistan. Afghanistan has also claimed to be in possession of “undeniable” evidence linking Pakistan to the recent terror attacks in Kabul.
These attacks come after Washington decided to suspend military aid of nearly $2 billion to Pakistan for its rumoured links to Taliban. U.S. President Donald Trump said in a New Year’s tweet that Pakistan has given the nation nothing but lies and deceit.
The tweet read: “The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”