By Abdul Haleem
KABUL, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- If you think that parking woes are found only in big cities and not in a small city like Kabul, think again.
Motorists here are now finding it hard where to park their cars and the police or traffic aides are not helping them. In fact, they are the ones making it difficult for motorists to find a parking space.
But the police have a valid reason: they are not sure whether the car is carrying bombs or being used for terroristic activities.
In the conflict-ridden Afghanistan, particularly in the fortified Afghan capital Kabul, police and security personnel are often on alert because of frequent suicide bomb attacks.
The Taliban militants fighting the government often use motor vehicles laden with bombs in attacking government buildings. Suicide attacks by the Taliban using motor vehicles have killed scores during the past couple of years.
The latest suicide attack and an oil tanker blast on Monday and Tuesday respectively killed two and injured several others.
On Wednesday, a suicide attack, which the Taliban militants claimed responsibility for, left eight people dead and 54 others injured in Ghazni City, capital of eastern Ghazni province.
With a population of only about 5 million, Kabul has around 400, 000 vehicles. However, the increasing security concerns because of the Taliban attacks, the city's narrow streets, congested roads, some of them under construction, have made driving in Kabul a very challenging exercise and could test the limit of one's patience. "It is about an hour that I have been moving around the streets but I can't find a parking space," said motorist Abdul Sabour.
Sabour, a resident of this city, was driving his car along with his son and daughter to find a shopping mall where he wanted to treat his young children and go shopping. "Believe me, wherever I try to park my car, the traffic police and security personnel would accost me," said the frustrated Sabour.
He said that one policeman even warned him that his tires will be punctured if he parks his car alongside streets or near government buildings in the city.
Abdullah Khan, another city resident, said two years ago, he parked his car on the roadside to take his children to Maiwand Hospital for vaccination and when he returned, he found that two tires of his car were punctured.
Unlike other cities, Kabul does not have public or private parking areas. Anyone driving in the city should park his car in front of his shop, in the compound of his office or should have a driver when going to a shopping mall. Usually, the driver will have to drive around the block or keeps his engine running until the owner of the vehicle returns.
Police and security personnel have been deployed in all sensitive areas, government buildings and foreign missions based in Kabul and other cities. "My responsibility is to ensure the security of citizens. I do not know if the driver of the vehicle is a Taliban or not. I have orders not to allow any car to park here and that is what I am doing," a police traffic officer stationed at Gulbahar Center, a shopping Mall in the city, said.