Fighting Criminal Offenses Requires Addressing Societal Challenges

Recently, the rate of criminal offenses, especially armed robberies, has increased in some parts of Afghanistan. According to the passengers, the thieves are operating on the Kabul-North route as before, stealing people’s property. In one case, armed robbers looted the property of some passengers in the Jar Khoshk and Gardab area of central Baghlan on Sunday night. According to the passengers, the thieves had weapons and military uniforms. This is only one case of theft on the Kabul-North route.

Residents of Baghlan have also expressed concern about the increase in thefts in the province in recent days. Locals in Baghlan complain that their property is stolen even in broad daylight. They claim they knew the thieves and introduced them to the Taliban, but they had been released from prisons. Thus, even the safest places in Baghlan have witnessed many cases of theft in recent days. Kabul and some other provinces suffer the same unrest.

Officials in the Taliban-led government have consistently reported a drop in the crime rate. On the contrary, however, the number of robberies has just increased day by day. The reasons for the increase in these thefts are also understandable. Unemployment, poverty, and the turmoil of the Taliban security apparatus are among the main reasons for the increase in robberies. Besides, when the Taliban were releasing prisoners, they never thought that a large part of those prisoners were armed robbers who were jailed at the cost of the blood of former soldiers. The Taliban opened the prison doors and let the thieves, the murderers, and the spies out of the prison.

Now that the Taliban are in power, they must be responsible for the security of the people and public facilities. The Taliban must take steps to reduce theft in the short and long term. Robberies take place in two circumstances. First, it has become a permanent gain for some people. These people should be arrested and sent to prison. Poverty and unemployment are also the sources of some of the thefts. In such a situation, combating this unhealthy phenomenon in society requires job creation, poverty reduction, and basic order. In many cases, people are forced to do so as long as people are unemployed and the means of income are closed to them. So, if the conditions of unemployment and poverty in the country do not change, it will not be possible to fight theft.

In addition, the turmoil in the Taliban security sector is one of the reasons for the increase in armed robberies. Taliban forces do not yet have uniforms and cannot be distinguished from irresponsible gunmen and thieves. If the thieves want to use the title of Taliban, they can do so very easily. The disorder of the Taliban’s security sector is one of the significant challenges facing the fight against crime, which adds to the existing problems.

Another major challenge is the lack of cooperation from citizens. This is rooted in the legitimacy of Taliban rule. Until the Taliban-led government gains legitimacy from the people, citizens are unlikely to cooperate with them in the fight against crime. Therefore, to reduce crime, the Taliban need to focus on gaining internal legitimacy, in addition to creating job opportunities, reducing poverty, and establishing a security order. As individuals, they must solve the existing problems of the citizens and respect their civil and citizenship rights. Until these cases are fundamentally resolved, it is unlikely that the Taliban will be able to prevent criminal crimes, especially robberies, even in the face of harsh treatment.