News - Afghanistan
The shopkeepers of the recently burnt Kabul market claimed Monday that their shops were robbed ahead of the fire that engulfed about 600 shops.
"The shops and safes were already opened ahead of our arrival. A government delegation should come to the scene and witness everything closely," one of the shopkeepers said.
Other shopkeepers blamed firefighters for the thefts and poor performance in containing the fire.
"I don't know what the firefighters were here for -- they didn't do their job satisfactorily," said another shopkeeper who lost his shop in Sunday's incident.
Store owners also complained of police misbehavior when they prevented shopkeepers from entering their burning shops to secure cash and other valuables from their safes.
Security officials dismissed the allegations of theft and misbehavior.
"We didn't behave badly with the people. The shopkeepers were coming to the shops and opening their safes. Some of them might have left them opened," said Col. Sultan Shinwari, police district 1 chief.
The Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industries urged the government to support the shopkeepers who lost their shops and exempt them from income taxes.