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 An Ariana Media Publication 04/21/2014
 Unemployment, Crime Rising Ahead Of Troop Pullout

By Geeti Mohseni

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Sayed Gul Aqa Hashimi, the head of the Kabul Crime Investigation Department, on Thursday said that over the past two months crime has increased in the capital, pointing to the foreign troop withdraw in 2014 as the main cause.

According to Hashimi, poverty and unemployment have increased in Afghanistan and there has been a concomitant rise in crime. Kabul police have arrested 136 people within the past two months.

"There are different factors behind the issue such as growing population, poverty, economic issues, and most importantly, the matter of the 2014 foreign troop withdraw," Hashimi said on Thursday.

As the NATO coalition prepares to pullout at the end of next year, many inside and outside of Afghanistan are concerned about the future of the country. Confidence in the Afghan forces' ability to maintain the relative stability and security that exists now, let alone gain ground against the insurgency, remains low.

General anxiety about what could come as the Afghan government is left to fend for itself has been a fueling force behind public demand for the Kabul-Washington Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), which would ensure a residual presence of foreign troops post-2014.

Nevertheless, with the BSA still unsigned 12 months before the pullout, experts in both Kabul and Washington have recognized that it is possible no deal might ever be made.

The connection between crime, economic strife and the troop withdraw is uncertain, yet it is clear from Hashimi's comments that some Afghans see it all as inter-related.

In the meantime, Kabul residents have struggled to cope with the new wave of theft and other crimes.

"A group of robbers robbed my house and took my car and jewelry," a robbery victim named Humaira Omari said. "if insecurity remains the, people will be forced to flee the country, because people can't tolerate living in a state of horror and chaos."

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