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Police beef up security ahead of Nawruz festival

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AT News Report-KABUL: Security has been tightened in northern Balkh province ahead of a landmark Nawruz festival scheduled for a few days later in Mazar-e-Sharif.

March 21st coincides with Nawruz which marks the start of a new solar year, the official calendar in Afghanistan, Iran and Tajikistan.

Sher Jan Dorrani, provincial police spokesman, said Saturday that about 4,000 police, army and intelligence forces are stand by to provide security during the festival.

“The joint security forces are in 24-hour efforts to provide Nowruz security in Balkh. Additional checkpoints have been established and the festival will be celebrated in a fully secure atmosphere,” Dorrani said.

He said that security forces are patrolling the Mazar-e-Sharif city and its entrances, nobody was allowed to carry out weapons and police have also established mobile checkpoints around the city.

People from across the country travel to Mazar-e-Sharif every year before the Nowruz and new year’s ceremony and the population of the city doubles.

“Mazar-e-Sharif residents get prepared for their guests who come to the city from other places of the country. They make haft sin (a traditional ceremony) and haft miwa (meal made from seven types of fruit). Security situation is good and people are happy for that,” said Hajji Assad, a resident of Mazar-e-Sharif city.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the International Nowruz Day in 2010 at the initiative of Afghanistan, Iran, Tajikistan and other countries where this day is celebrated.

This day is officially celebrated every year in the Nowruz zone countries and Afghanistan hosted the festival in 2014.