Pajhwok Afghan News

Displaced Arghandab people fear landmines to return homes

KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): Residents of Arghandab district of southern Kandahar province say they are unable to return to their villages due to landmines planted on routes, while the Atal Military Corps claim detecting and defusing 2,000 landmines in the district.

Ehsanullah, a resident of the Munari area of the district, said he was injured in a landmine blast and was currently under treatment in Mirwais hospital.

“I was heading to my village along with my friend when we hit a landmine, I lost my eyesight and my hand was injued and my friend also got hurt,” he added.

He, however, said the security forces had announced not to return until the areas were cleared of landmines. But he said they were facing a host of problems in displacement and they must return to their areas.

According to Ehsan, about 10 to 12 people of their village had suffered casualties as a result of landmine explosion in the past few days.

Khan Mohammad, an elderly resident of Zhwandi Hadira area, said his younger son was injured in a landmine blast.

“I don’t know why the Taliban are fighting here, our houses, gardens, roads and culverts are destroyed, many families have been displaced .The life of people is in risk,” he explained.

He added the Taliban had planted landmines in various areas, including minor roads, gardens, lands and houses in Arghandab.

He said the conflict had inflicted huge losses on Arghandab district and it could not be compensated soon.

Raz Mohammad, a resident of Tabeen area of the district, told Pajhwok the homes of people had been destroyed and their crops and gardens damaged and no one reached out to the affected people for assistance.

He added people’s demand was an end to the conflict and demining so people could return to their homes.

Abdul Samand, an inhabitant of Munari area, told Pajhwok the recent fighting had hit Arghandab hard. He said people’s gardens were drying up, their homes were destroyed and thousands of people dressed in one pair of cloths were waiting to return.

Abdul Hameed Amiri, a doctor at the surgery ward in Mirwais Hospital, told Pajhwok that at least 56 bodies and 60 injured with most of civilians had been brought to the hospital in the past few weeks.

He said most of them suffered casualties due to landmine explosions.

Eng. Mohammad Sharif, administrative chief for Arghandab, told Pajhwok that at least 4,200 families had been displaced from 42 villages of the district and they were longing for return to their areas. He said the areas had been cleared of the militants but landmines still existed.

In last six months of fighting in the district, many people suffered casualties, many public facilities and people’s homes and gardens were destroyed.

“Two huge bridges, 200 mosques and six schools were destroyed in Argandab.”

Khwaja Yahya Alawi, spokesman for 205th Atal Military Corps, told Pajhwok.

The district had been completely cleared of militants and security forces were currently defusing landmines. He said about 1,997 landmines were recovered and defused yesterday alone.

Governor Rohullah Khanzada provided information on bridges, culverts, canals, houses, schools, and mosques destroyed by the Taliban in the district and shared their suggestion on emergency assistance with displaced families.

Gen. Yasin Zia, chief of army staff, thanked the Kandahar governor for his cooperation and coordination and asked national traders to approach the affected people with aid along with government until their areas were cleared of landmines.

Haji Mohammad, provincial council chief, suggested that in addition to providing emergency assistance to the people of Arghandab, the government should improve available facilities and water system.

Mohammad Yunus Momand, director of chamber of commerce and industry, said the chamber had provided assistance to 1,650 families and assured them of further assistance.

President Ghani, while expressing his condolences to the people and leaders of Arghandab, instructed the director of the Administrative Affairs to negotiate a clear agreement with the demining organization to remove the mines planted by the Taliban in Arghandab.

He instructed the Ministry of Interior (MoI) to photograph the mines and share them with the United Nations and the international community.

The president referred the increasing destruction by the Taliban in Arghandab district to the ministries of Agriculture, Rural Development, Public Health, Education,  Hajj and Religious Affairs, and the Disaster Management and the Independent Directorate of Local Governance to jointly work in coordination with Kandahar governor in providing relief and reconstruction work.

The President directed that in addition to equitable distribution of aid to the displaced families, a clear plan of assistance should be drawn up to help them rebuild their destroyed homes.

He called on the officials of Kandahar, especially Arghandab district, to cooperate with the local administration, especially the security and defense forces, to prevent such atrocities in the future.

Sa/ma

 

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