Security officials in northern Balkh province on Monday said they have put tough security measures in place to maintain security during Nowruz celebrations, which will be held on Tuesday in Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital city.
According to security officials, more than 5,000 security force members are assigned to monitor all activities over the next few days so as to thwart any terrorist attacks.
“Air force has covered all parts of Balkh city from the air. Security forces are assigned and stationed in all parts of the city to maintain security,” Balkh police spokesman Sherjan Durani said.
Security forces have established a security checkpoint 30km from Balkh city where they check all cars entering the city.
People who have come to Balkh from different parts of the country are satisfied with the security situation.
“Highway security is good,” said Sediq, a Kabul resident in Balkh.
“I came to Mazar-e-Sharif to celebrate New Year. Here security is good,” said Hamida.
The head of the local police department assigned for security on the Balkh highway, Mohammad Asif, said hundreds of vehicles are transporting people to Balkh daily and we check all passengers and register the vehicles.
Highway police set a rule that no one is allowed to enter the city with weapons.
“No one can enter the city with weapons. We take and register their weapons here,” Mohammad Asif said.
Large crowds had already gathered around Hazrat Ali shrine, the Blue Mosque, in Mazar-e-Sharif to celebrate New Year on Monday.
Pictures of a number of government officials, minus the CEO, adorned the walls.
In recent years insurgents have increased their activities in northern provinces, but security forces said they are hopeful that people will celebrate New Year peacefully.