Hundreds of stranded Bamiyan villagers accuse Taliban of backing blockage on route

Local sources report that about 500 families have been stranded in Bamyan’s Regshad Wasat village since Taliban backed blockage on routes, curbing passage and transport of locals to outside the village.

Sources told KabulNow on Tuesday that individuals belonging to ethnic Pashtuns, backed by Taliban’s local authorities, barred four routes in the PD 4 area in Bamyan’s center, saying a fifth route was blocked on Monday.

“Some Pashtuns, led by an individual named Gulab Shah, have blocked these routes by digging pits,” the source said before accusing them of claiming ownership over 3.5-acre land of native residents using “false documents.”

Sources explained to KabulNow that these elements have set a price of 10,900,000 Afghani (over USD$132,000) for the disputed land, demanding full payment from residents of the Regshad Wasat village.

They have also threatened local villagers, saying these routes will remain blocked until they have been paid the price.

So far, at least 13 families have been forced to pay 3.3. million Afghani (over USD$39,000) to reclaim possession of land on which they had built their homes.

Many villagers claim the decision has been influenced by political considerations.

“After villagers lodged a complaint [against Gulab Shah and his supporters] to Taliban authorities in Bamiyan to seek justice, they were rejected,” the sources told KabulNow. “The Taliban governor emphasized that villagers should pay the amount to those Pashtuns to solve the dispute.”

Taliban forces, the sources added, also detained four residents of Regshad Wasat village on Wednesday over the land dispute but released them later when local elders intervened.

Abdul Saboor Farzan Saighani, Taliban’s spokesperson in Bamiyan, in a response to KabulNow’s question on the matter, denied the allegations of villagers as “rumors.”