Crime is a social problem in all human societies, but in Afghanistan the most heinous and harrowing types of it occurs. Lately criminal offenses are increasingly on the rise causing serious concerns among the population.
Five months ago, 14 years-old Abasin was kidnapped from Karta-e-Naw area of Kabul, after having him tortured the kidnappers cut his finger and then they brutally killed him. His corpse was found in an area around Kabul. This incident sparked harsh reactions in all over the country. The Afghan National Assembly, the public and the civil society activists called for justice for Abasin and his family. Afghan Presidential Office issued a statement saying that the Afghan President is deeply affected by this incident and has ordered the local organs to ensure justice about the perpetrators of this incident.
Kidnapping and murdering Abasin was not the first incident of this type but in the past we had also repeatedly witnessed such tragic events in different parts of the country. The question is what causes the increase in heinous crimes in the country? And what measure must the government take to reduce these crimes to its lowest levels?
Crime rate in Afghanistan (1387-1394)
Crime is a phenomenon that cannot be eradicated from a society but we can take measures to minimize its occurrence.
Since 1387, the number of recorded crimes is increasing in Afghanistan. In 1387 the total number of crimes was 6786, but in the first three quarters of 1394 this number was 14619. However, in some years the crime rate had slightly been reduced compared to previous years, (for instance, crimes decreased from 7010 incidents in 1389 to 6929 incidents in 1390) but in some other years this number increased unprecedentedly for example in 1392 the total number of crimes in the country was 27122. (See Char-1 for more details)
Chart-1: statistics of crimes in Afghanistan (1387-1394)
Statistics of undocumented crimes
All the above mentioned statistics were of crimes that were recorded by respective entities, while the real statistics of crimes in the country is far more than that. According to a survey by The Asia Foundation 49% of crimes are not being reported in the country.
Corruption, not detaining offenders or releasing them after arresting, weak government rule in remote areas, long administrative procedure while reporting crimes, lack of confidence in the government and involvement of powerful people in these incidents are the reasons why a big part of the crimes are not recorded in the country.
Increase in heinous crimes
Despite reduction of total number of crimes, some harrowing types of crimes such as murder and robbery have increased in the country. For instance in 1390, although the total number of crimes had decreased but the murder incidents were more than every other crime.
If we compare the statistics of the first three quarters of 1393 and 1394 of crime incidents, one will conclude that in 1394 the total number of crimes has decreased; but the numbers of murders, kidnapping and injuries shows a sharp increase.
Except for 1389, murders incidents have increased in the past several years. For instance in 1387 there were 1075 murders cases registered in the country where only in the first three quarters of 1394 more than 1600 murders were recorded in the country. (Chart-1)
On the other hand, the unofficial surveys also show a sharp increase in crimes. Only in Kabul there have been 318 incidents of crime in three weeks in Dalwa 1394. And dozens of criminal offenses occur only in some major cities of the country.
Besides the adverse effects on minds and lives of the people, the augmentation of crimes such as abduction, negatively influences the economy. Kidnapping businessmen or their family members from safe places of major cities has discouraged traders from investing in Afghanistan.
After 2014, due to concerns about the security and stability of the country, a great number of investors moved their wealth out of Afghanistan. Businessmen and investors are often the main victims of crimes such as Abduction and robbery, which discourage them from investing in Afghanistan and cause the remaining capitals to flee the country.
Factors behind the escalating incidents of crimes
According to a survey, from 2009 to 2014, an average of 20.17% of people mentioned unemployment, 13.17% Corruption, 7.67% illiteracy, and 7.7% mentioned poverty as the main factor behind crimes. Here we have listed the main factors of increased crimes in the country:
- Corruption and the lack of law enforcement: According to the annual report of the Transparency International Afghanistan was the second most corrupt country in the world and based on a survey conducted by Integrity Watch Afghanistan, the respondents viewed Judiciary organs (34%) and police (23%) as the most corrupt public institutions. Since police detain criminals and the judiciary system prosecutes them, corruption in these two institutions has an important role in augmentation of crimes. On the other hand, weakness and lack of professionalism in security sectors has resulted not only to the failure of these sectors from preventing such events, but also participation of them to these crimes.
- Unemployment: In the past few years, unemployment has reached its high levels and the legal way of increasing incomes are limited; therefore, young generation of the country is seeking illegal ways to increase their incomes, therefore such horrific crimes occur.
- Powerful entities and Politicians: due to their own self interest some powerful entities and politicians defend criminals against the law; that is why using cars with black glasses criminals commit crimes like murder and kidnappings in the daylight and even in safe areas of major cities.
- Cultural invasion: if we look at the statistics of crimes like murder, rape, and similar crimes we will notice that these crimes are increasing every year. Broadcasting vulgar and immoral serials and serials that are not in accordance with our culture and religion is the main factor behind the increase in crimes. Thus stopping the broadcasting these serials and broadcasting beneficial and informative programs instead will be a big step to reduce crimes in the society.
- Illegal weapons and irresponsible armed individuals: during the war in the past several decades weapons were distributed all over the country. Although since 2005, efforts were made to collect these weapons, but unlicensed weapons still exist all over the country. For instance 22 individuals died during an armed conflict in a wedding party in Baghlan.
Recommendations to reduce crimes
- In order to prevent corruption, effective policies should be made and applied in security and judicial sectors; because corruption in both sectors is the main factor in the rise of crimes in the country.
- Anti-criminal organs should be empowered and in order to decrease the level of their engagement in corruption, besides the training, the salaries of their employees should be increased.
- Efforts for providing work opportunities should be made; so that unemployment and poverty do not led the youth to involve in unpleasant criminal cases.
- In order to discourage others from committing crimes, the government must hold a tougher stance against criminals and must hold open trial.
- The vulgar and contrary to culture and religions broadcasts must be prevented.