Kabul acting mayor said government aims to expand the green zone in order to provide more security in the inner city
Govt Limits Vehicles As Larger Green Zone Plan Kicks In
Kabul municipality said on Saturday it will limit vehicles entering Wazir Akbar Khan area in downtown Kabul in its first step towards expanding the Green Zone.
According to Kabul’s acting mayor, Abdullah Habibzai, the decision was taken after the deadly truck bombing in the area on May 31 which killed over 150 people and wounded hundreds more.
Wazir Akbar Khan, also known as the diplomatic zone, houses numerous embassies - many of which have raised concerns over the security in the area following the deadly bombing.
A similar plan was implemented in the past in Baghdad, in Iraq, in order to safeguard their diplomatic quarter.
On Saturday, numerous streets in Wazir Akbar Khan in downtown Kabul were closed to the public as government started implementing its plan.
“It is quit natural that closing a number of streets will create a series of problems for the people. The logic behind this move is that a number of diplomatic offices have been under security threats and that our security colleagues have decided to close a number of roads,” said Habibzai.
However, many Kabul residents have reacted in dismay to this and said it will create enormous challenges for residents - especially as Wazir Akbar Khan road leads directly to a number of hospitals and the city's busy center.
For motorists and commuters, getting to their destination through the area proved especially challenging as heavy traffic jams were found on most roads leading to Wazir Akbar Khan, Sherpoor and the airport.
“I cannot take my passenger to his destination. We are facing lots of problems,” said Faiz Mohammad, driver.
Kabul residents also said if government wants to create a green zone in downtown Kabul city, then it should create alternate routes for people in order to avoid traffic gridlocks.
“If government wants to close these roads, then it should create alternate routes for the people,” Sharif, a driver said.
MPs also criticized the move.
“I don't know which way our people should go and how this can satisfy the people,” Mirdad Nijrabi, head of parliament’s internal security commission said.
But in response to concerns, Kabul's acting mayor said the municipality has plans to create alternate routes for motorists.
“We practically have started the work and it will take four to six months to create the alternate route,” said Habibzai.
Removing of T-walls to ease traffic flow in some areas was also part of this plan, he said.