Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Afghan police are puncturing tyres to deter vehicle thieves

In Kabul, car theft isn't a big problem, but it is a big concern. Security officials fear that militants could use stolen vehicles as car bombs. So the police have turned to a rather controversial tactic to deter thieves.

Nesar Ahmad Abdulrahimzai, police chief for Kabul's 10th district said: "The police puncture tyres as precautionary measures. The police are poorly equipped and we simply have no other option to prevent car theft." So he has instructed his officers to puncture tyres of cars parked on the street after dark.

Zoheb Stanikzai, a 19-year old student, says he has nowhere to park his car except on the street. "I've complained and given the police a letter saying I'm responsible for my car," he says. But to no avail. He's already spent more than $500 on new tyres, and the police won't reimburse him.

Former prosecutor Hamidullah Ataee, who had four tyres punctured when he parked his car in front of his house, says the practice is illegal under Afghan law and the victims are legally parked when their cars are effectively vandalized. "They don't do their job, but instead they puncture the tyres and misuse their authority," Ataee says. He complained to the police and asked for reimbursement, but was told it was his fault for parking on the street.

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