The security situation in Tripoli is more serious than some may think, according to a security official who warns that the northern city’s alleyways are on the way to resembling the notorious lawless city of Kandahar in Afghanistan.

“It’s becoming increasingly difficult to deter or control the gunmen in Tripoli. It requires – in deeds, not in words – that all political parties in Lebanon and the city’s leaders lift their political cover from those gunmen before it’s too late,” the official said.Kandahar, one of the most volatile and lawless cities in Afghanistan, was the birthplace of the Taliban movement in the 1990s and it remains a hotbed of the Taliban insurgency against Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai’s U.S.-backed government.

The official said local and regional parties had entered Tripoli’s alleyways by setting up armed networks, exploiting the poverty of local residents.