Sunday, May 03, 2009

Afghanistan: Forcing beggars from the streets of Kabul

A young girl begs on the street in Kabul

RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan reports that the Afghan government has started removing all beggars from the streets of Kabul.

The plan follows a resolution by the council of ministers -- headed by President Hamid Karzai -- from November that outlawed begging on the streets. Afghan officials have said that criminal gangs force children to beg for money.

Nawroz Ali Alizada, the head of the commission for implementing the resolution, told RFE/RL that beggars will be taken to different institutions for help.

He said that "Widows and old men will be sent to Afghanistan's Red Crescent Society, orphans and teenagers will be handed over to the Work and Social Affairs Ministry, while drug addicts will be given to the Public Health Ministry for treatment."

Some beggars, however, are not at all happy about the move.

Sayed Qader, 67, who claims to be the only breadwinner for a family of 10, told RFE/RL that his family will have no food if he is prevented from begging.

Meanwhile, officials are also cracking down on Kabul's illegal motorcyclists and drivers in an effort to improve safety and security in the capital city.

A significant number of suicide bombings have been linked to illegal motorists and motorcyclists, officials say, and they are checking more drivers for proper documentation.

Some drivers told RFE/RL last week that documentation is hard to get as the process is inefficient and often requires bribing authorities for the proper paperwork.

Copyright (c) 2009. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
Published by Mike Hitchen, Mike Hitchen Consulting
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