Taliban in control of six districts in Nuristan, says new governor
JALALABAD (PAN): The Taliban insurgents are in control of six districts of eastern Nuristan province, where work on 800 reconstruction projects has been suspended over the past two years, the newly appointed governor said on Sunday.
The six districts where the Taliban still hold sway are Bargimatal, Kamdesh, Waigal, Mandol, Duab and some parts of Noorgram districts, Tamim Nuristani told Pajhwok Afghan News.
Work on only six of the 800 projects approved two years back had been completed, he said, adding the rest of projects could not be completed due to security problems.
"The Taliban can openly go to each part of the province, even their shadow governor lived in Chatrash and Kusht areas on the outskirts of the provincial capital for a few months," Tamim said.
The governor also rejected the accusation that he had provided the Taliban with weapons belonging to police.
He said the gap between the government in Nuristan and the people had widened and that he would try his best to reduce it. He said he would try to open the Kunar-Nuristan highway with the help of Kunar officials and tribal councils in a peaceful way.
The governor was optimistic about the resolution of security related problems without fighting or clashes. He said the Taliban-controlled districts would be retaken with the help of people.
About 90 percent of schools in Nuristan lacked proper buildings and 40 percent of schools had been closed due to insecurity, he said.
Fighters associated with the Taliban, Hezb-i-Islami, Al Qaeda, Jaish-i-Mohammad and Lashkar-i-Taiba of Pakistan have been active in Nuristan, the governor said. He also vowed to eliminate corruption from government departments.
However, former governor, Jamaluddin Badr, rejected Tamim's claims that work on hundreds of projects had been stopped; saying work on a road connecting western, eastern and central Nuristan was stopped before his appointment due to funds embezzlement.
"Security can only be maintained in Nuristan by Afghan soldiers," he said. The anti-government fighters wanted to make Nuristan a permanent base for their attacks in northern and southern provinces," he said.
"The governor before my appointment was unable to maintain the security situation in Kamdesh district with the help of foreigners, but I did it with the help of police and tribal elders," he said. He also rejected schools remained closed during his time as governor of Nuristan.
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