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Kabul to ban motorbikes in bid to thwart Taliban killings and crime

KABUL, Afghanistan (AFP) – Authorities in Kabul will ban motorcycles and scooters in the Afghan capital in a bid to control rampant crime and stop assailants on two-wheelers from conducting targeted killings, officials said Tuesday, April 14.

The ban, which takes effect Wednesday, comes after a string of assaults by armed men on motorbikes.

Delivery riders, who are seeing heavy demand amid Kabul’s coronavirus lockdown, will be exempted.

“Most of the crimes in the city, including targeted killings and other crimes, are carried out using motorbikes,” interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian told AFP.

“We have therefore decided to ban the use of the motorbikes in Kabul city and its districts.”

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a security official told AFP that the Taliban are conducting an increasing number of targeted killings of government officials.

“They all use motorbikes to do hit and runs,” the official said, noting that street robberies by theives on motorcycles and scooters were also on the rise.

Earlier this month, two of President Ashraf Ghani’s bodyguards were shot dead in separate attacks by armed men on motorbikes, according to the official.

Motorcycle bans have been implemented in some other parts of Afghanistan, but this is the first restriction in the capital.

“It improved the security in other provinces, it is going to improve the security in Kabul too,” the official said.

As overwhelmed police forces are busy battling the Taliban as rampant poverty and rising unemployment have worsened Kabul’s security situation, making drive-by shootings, car thefts, and the snatching of phones and wallets commonplace.

Motorcycles and scooters are popular in Kabul, with riders using them to cut through the city’s notorious traffic that frequently is gridlocked for hours.

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