Officials from the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) on Wednesday said kidnappings of businessmen in the private sector increased by five percent in the first six months of this year and that the problem has resulted in a drop in investment in the country.
So far this year, more than 30 cases of businessmen having been abducted have been recorded, the ACCI’s spokesman said on Wednesday, adding that the problem has led to investors pulling their money out of the country.
Meanwhile Ministry of Interior (MoI) officials reiterated past statements that government will take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety and security of the business community.
“We outlined a program in joint cooperation with the chamber of commerce and industries to find out how we can ensure the protection of those businessmen who are at risk,” said interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish.
The ACCI claimed that kidnappers, in some cases, have abducted businessmen from areas close to police check points.
ACCI deputy chief said, in a recent incident, a local businessman was shot dead close to a security check post in Mazar-e-Sharif city in northern Balkh province after resisting would-be kidnappers.
“Investments have decreased by 40 percent this year, this is not only linked to security issues, kidnapping has played a major role in this respect,” said Khan Jan Alokozai, deputy head of ACCI.
It is however believed that in most cases businessmen engage in talks directly with the kidnappers in order to ensure their safe release.
But Hamdard Hesam is one businessmen whose close relative managed to escape from kidnappers. However, the relative left Afghanistan following the incident and transferred his money to Istanbul.
“When this person was released by the kidnappers, we were suffering and kidnappers were threatening us, finally the young man fled the country with his family,” said Hamdard.
According to the ACCI, the increase in kidnappings has demoralized the business community and businessmen are now taking their money and investing it abroad.
Businessmen argue that the security expenses for the private sector has increased dramatically due to security threats and many businessmen cannot afford to spend so much on their own security.