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Latest update : 2017-07-21

Video: Afghans live in fear as kidnappings soar

Last year, more than 300 people were kidnapped in Afghanistan. Although abductions of foreigners by the Taliban tend to make the headlines, more than 90% of the victims are in fact Afghans. Terrorist groups, but more often criminal gangs, are to blame. FRANCE 24 reports on the resulting disastrous social and economic consequences for the country.

Kidnappings are on the rise in Afghanistan.

A population already weary from war and terror attacks now also live in fear of being kidnapped.

In 2016, the police reported almost one abduction per day, but the actual figure is undoubtedly much higher as many are not reported to the authorities.

Foreigners living in Afghanistan - essentially diplomats and humanitarian workers - limit their movements as much as possible and they live in secure residences, complete with armed guards and "panic rooms".

However, it’s mostly Afghans who are kidnapped and their ordeals receive little press coverage. This is despite the fact that the victims are subjected to extreme violence during their ordeal: horrifying audio and video recordings of acts of torture are often sent to families.

Faced with this wave of abductions, the under-resourced police are doing what they can. A specialist unit has now been set up in Kabul to tackle this spiraling problem.

Not only is this yet another worry for Afghans in their daily lives, it is also damaging the economy. As a result, since Afghan entrepreneurs want to avoid attracting the attention of criminal gangs and terrorists, the registration of new companies halved in 2016 according to the Afghan Chamber of Commerce. Even Afghan investors prefer to move their money outside the country. All this has resulted in a shortfall for the Afghan economy estimated at one billion euros.
 

By Sonia GHEZALI , Camille LE POMELLEC , Surabhi TANDON

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