Sangin residents want district, police chiefs fired
LASHKAEGAH (PAN): Residents of Sangin district in southern Helmand province have warned they would not stop cultivating poppies until the town's administrative head and police chief are removed.
The warning came at a gathering attended by hundreds of residents. Governor Gulab Mangal, provincial police chief and a number of government officials and tribal elders attended the gathering.
Mangal told the participants the security situation in Sangin had improved and residents should not return to poppy cultivation. He said the government had intensified efforts at countering narcotics. The governor warned of strict action against poppy growers in government-controlled areas.
However, residents said they would not stop poppy cultivation until their demands were met. Tribal elder Haji Daud said no development project had been launched in the district over the past three months.
While acknowledging the government had carried out some uplift schemes in the past, he insisted locals should be appointed as district and police chiefs.
Another tribal elder, Khudai Nazar Khan, said the situation with regard to development had changed across the province, but no significant scheme had so far been initiated in Sangin.
He urged the government to fire the sitting administrative head and police chief, accusing the two of creating problems for locals instead of addressing their grievances.
The governor said there might be some problems created by the district and police chiefs, but added the security situation in the district had improved due to their efforts.
"I can't hire or fire the district and police chiefs on the request of a particular group… It will not help improve the system," Mangal concluded.
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