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The Killid Group

Kunar locals complain of neglect

Written by Ahmad Farhad
Sunday, 19 December 2010 11:10

Kunar locals complain of neglect

In Ghaziabad district of the eastern province of Kunar which borders Pakistan, the local population is feeling neglected and ignored by the Afghan government. Deprived of the fruits of development, suffering the scourge of insecurity, locals say it is hard to keep the faith in the government. Many warn that youth are turning increasingly to the Taliban as a result of the neglect and lack of economic opportunities.

Ghaziabad residents feel the Afghan government is present in its absence. Though there is a provincial government and provincial departments of the central ministeries, there is little to show for it.

An overwhelming concern of the locals is the lack of security. 31-year old Abdul Wahid says that nine years since the current government took power; there is no security in their area. The government and the coalition forces have not been able to establish control over the insurgent activity.  "Even the government building in the district is not safe, let alone other areas in the district".

Kunar has seen increasingly volatile insurgent activity in recent months and Ghaziabad district particularly seen routine military engagements between the U.S. Coalition Forces and the insurgents in the rugged and mountainous terrain. The Afghan National Security Forces are unable to secure the populated areas. According to Wahid, on the day of the parliamentary polling, the police were sitting  in front of the district building with the Taliban having set up a post about 2 KM away from them. The people were too scared to venture out to vote.

The government is supposed to ensure good governance, implement development projects in the area and support the people. How can we support the government when such things don't exist and how the draw can support from friends and locals for the government?" he asks.  The government and aid agencies should make every effort to gain support from the villagers by implementing development and cultural projects so that the people can support them feels Wahid.

Muhammad Fahim, who is 26 years old, says that apart from security education, health, communications and the lack of roads are the major problems facing the local population. He claims that there has been no development work in the district for the past nine years.

"Health services in our district, condition of the roads and people's economy are almost non-existent. There are not enough schools and not enough teachers. Due to unemployment, the youth join the Taliban as a last resort. For God's sake, what's going on? We are from Afghanistan too after all".

In the entire district of Ghaziabad, says Fahim, there was only two high schools, one for girls and one for boys. "Even there they have no professional teachers and students graduate with no knowledge". For Najibullah Hamdard it is the lack of health facilities that is of primacy concern. Hamdard says people have to travel long distances for medical treatment in Asadabad (the provincial capital) and even to Chitral of Pakistan and some of them die on the way. "It costs 2500 Afghanis ($50) to transport a patient to Asadabad or Chitral which people find unaffordable". Though  a health center was built by PRT in the district earlier, it was opened to the public only for a few days.

Hamdard blames not just the provincial authorities and the international aid community but also the local leaders. "Our maleks and tribal leaders fill their pockets with money and they give damn about the people. Our biggest helplessness is our illiteracy; some tribal leaders and Maleks take advantage of villagers' ignorance and misery that's why they don't want to see security, education and prosperity for the people".

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