Pajhwok Afghan News, February 19, 2006

Gunmen attack HBL car, decamp with $320,000 in Kabul

Six armed men in police uniform attacked the HBL vehicle at the busy Sherpur roundabout in the center of the Kabul city.

Pajhwok Report

KABUL, Feb 19 (Pajhwok Afghan News): Unidentified gunmen Sunday intercepted a car of the Habib Bank Limited (HBL) and decamped with 320,000 US dollars after wounding the chief cashier, driver and a security guard.

Speaking to Pajhwok Afghan News, HBL Manager Operations Khalid Abdul Aziz said the incident took place around 1:30pm in Kucha-i-Qasabi (Shar-i-Naw) when the bank staff was on the way to the Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) in Wazir Akbar Khan.

Aziz said armed men, in a car without a number plate, suddenly stopped the bank's vehicle and ordered the driver and guard at gunpoint to surrender. They smashed the wind screen of the bank's vehicle and forced the staff to come down.

Meanwhile, a robber fired a shot which hit one of the two guards in the leg. He said chief cashier Imran and the guards were beaten with Kalashnikov butts in the head and back.

Asked about the condition of the injured, the bank official replied the guard and chief cashier had been admitted to hospital. He said the cashier had lost consciousness due to severe thrashing. He is under treatment in the Blossom group's hospital.

He said they had talked to the governor of Afghanistan's central bank, who provided the HBL with additional security personnel.

However, he demanded of the Afghan government to provide them extra security so as to avoid a recurrence of such incidents in future. He also sought compensation from the Afghan government.

Earlier, driver of the looted vehicle Amanullah Nuristani told Pajhwok Afghan News six armed men in police uniform attacked the HBL vehicle at the busy Sherpur roundabout in the afternoon.

With his hand injured, the driver said the assailants hit him with Klashnikov butts before they fired at the man having the cash. A security guard in the car was also seriously wounded when he tried to fire at the robbers, who managed to escape.

Nuristani added the road was still stained with the blood of the guard, who is said to be in a critical condition.

The gunmen went on to shoot dead a constable who tried to chase them, according to Farid, a crime branch official of the 10th police district.

An eyewitness claimed the outlaws wounded a passerby in the jurisdiction of the 10th police district. Rapid Reaction Force head Gen. Mahboob Amiri said they were trying to track down the brigands.

The assault on the HBL car came in broad daylight at a time when the Karzai-led government is making hectic efforts to lure foreign investors to Afghanistan.

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