Kabul police raid shisha cafes in crackdown on 'debauchery'

Afghan police raid shisha cafes and confiscate shisha tobacco water pipes and paraphernalia as part of a campaign to crackdown on 'debauchery and vulgarity'.

(REUTERS) - The Afghan authorities are raiding popular shisha cafes in the capital Kabul, destroying their signs, confiscating shisha pipes and paraphernalia in what they say is a crackdown on "debauchery".

Shisha is a fruit-flavoured tobacco inhaled through water pipes, and the cafes are a popular public gathering spot.

But police say they're also breeding grounds for petty criminals, and promote loose morals.

Angry customers say the police should be focusing instead on protecting the community from suicide bombers and kidnappings.

Cafe owner Abdul Rahim agrees. "It would be very good if police would carry out such raids to ensure the security in the country first. As you know, business is down in general in the country because there is no security and people suffer from joblessness," he said.

The crackdown is part of a new campaign to enforce, for the first time, a two-year-old law banning indoor smoking in restaurants.

But critics say it will only distract police from Kabul's capital's deteriorating security situation.