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Ghor residents fume over suspension of flights

Ghor residents fume over suspension of flights

Mar 19, 2018 - 15:31

FEROZKOH (Pajhwok): Residents on Monday complained about the cancellation of flights by the only airline operating in western Ghor province, saying they had to accept problems and travel by road.

Common people, traders and government officials travel to Ghor through western Herat province. But insecurity, long routes and bad highway condition have forcedthem to travel by air.

The Kam Air alone operated flights to the province. The airline recently suspended flights to Ghor and a number of other provinces after some of its staff members were killed during an attack on the Continental Hotel in Kabul.

Residents grumbled about the cancellation of flights to the province, saying they were faced with a whole host of problems and could not travel by road due to the bad law and order situation.

Najibullah Nazari, hailing from Ghor, told Pajhwok Afghan News: “Flights were a facility for us, obviating the need for road travel to Kabul and Herat provinces. Many of highways are in bad condition.”

Safiullah, a resident of Ferozkoh, said flights to the province were suspended a month ago and they could not evacuate patients to other provinces due to security problems. He hoped air travel would resume to Ghor.

Karamuddin Razazada, who represents Ghor residents in the Wolesi Jirga, expressed concern over flight cancellation and said the Kam Air had suspended stopped flights to the province after a number of its staffers were killed in the Kabul hotel attack.

He confirmed local officials could not travel to Ghor due to security concerns -- an issue he called serious. Razazada asked the Civil Aviation Authority to take actionto ensure the resumption of flights and thereby resolve the problem.

On the other hand, passengers are worried about being taken hostage by Taliban on Ghor-Herat highway.Drivers say the militants had distributeddocuments reading ‘The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and Taliban’s Economic Commission’. 

Passengers, who are reportedly stopped on the highway, are asked by the Taliban about their jobs and location of residences.

Nasir Ahmad Herati, a driver, said: “The Taliban have set up their own checkpoints on this highway, where they extort money from us. They ask passengers about their jobs and locations. The Taliban take government servants hostage.”

Government officials, faced with similar problems, say they had been invited by the central government several times to meetings in Kabul but they could not travel by road.

Abdul Tawab Taib, Ghor agriculture director, said: “The ministry invited us several times to attend workshops and other programme, but we could not travel to Kabul due to security problems on the road.”

Meanwhile, Governor Ghulam Naser Khaze verified he had to stay in the central capital for about a month and could not come to Ghor due to flight cancellation.

He has met with officials of the airline, who promised resumptionof flights to Ghor in the near future. “I have also shared the problem with the president,”

Fazal Ahmad Azizi, a representative of the Kam Air, said lights to Ghor had been cancelled after a number of their pilots and flight attendantskilled in hotel attack in Kabul on January 21.

Flights to other provinces remain normal, but the air travel facility to Ghor, Badakhshan, Bamyan and Farah provinces has been suspended. Kam Air’s small planes were flown by Ukrainian pilots.

He explained they had not yet decidedon the resumption of flights to Ghor and it was unclear when the facility would restart.

mds/mud

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