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Editorial: A convoy that killed a young girl

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The presidential special guard convoy hit a young girl during President Ashraf Ghani’s Monday visit to the eastern province of Laghman. Salma, 13, was selling yogurt in Mehterlam city, the provincial capital when she was hit by the president’s over-speed convoy. Her relatives have said that she was the only breadwinner of her family. She succumbed to her injuries in hospital after she was taken by traffic police while her family was not aware of the accident.

Provincial officials have tried to downplay the incident as an unintentional accident, saying that the local government attended her mourning, apologized for the event and paid some amount in an aim to compensate as is common in the Afghan society for unintentional incidents.

The Laghman incident was another very tragic one after people learned of a suicide attack in Jalalabad city of the neighboring province of Nangarhar on the same day in which around 20 civilians most of them our dear Sikh brothers and scores of others wounded, while the president was visiting there just before the heading to Laghman.

Government officials unfortunately pay less attention to what is happening around them when they go from one place to another in their armored and taunted glasses vehicles with their security convoys overrunning in the city. This causes panic among the people such as the possibility of terrorist attacks targeting the heavily guarded officials, being hit by the speedy vehicles and being beaten by the bodyguards for walking or driving on the roads at the same time that the official is using the road.

Unfortunately, our officials who are our own people and the sons of this country drive imitating the foreign troops who have hit and killed many civilians in the past, such as the 2006 anti-US riot that took place by angry people after the US military convoyed hit and killed some civilians in the north of the capital.

Officials are actually the servants of people and the president and vice presidents are standing at first of the servants’ queue. People should trust them and consider them as the defenders of their rights in both home and foreign issues. They should return people’s rights from illegal and bully people, but what will people expect them when they themselves violates the law and cause panic among them and put their lives in danger?

Unfortunately, the president did not sympathize for what is called “accident” in a small statement. It is not clear that if Mr. Ghani was kept unaware of the incident or was informed and did not care to the life of a human being he is her leader.