Photograph at Argo mass grave sparks anger
KABUL (Pajhwok): Afghans are angry at officials who posed for a photo with smiling faces on a red carpet near the mass grave for victims of a massive mudslide in the Argo district of northeastern Badakhshan province.
Local officials have said there was now no hope for more than 2,000 people believed buried in their homes by the mudslide that engulfed Ab Barik village on May 2. The search for survivors formally ended on Saturday as mechanical diggers left the village without being used because the site was inaccessible.
At least 2,000 people were in their homes when a mountain collapsed and covered the area in mud and rocks. A further 600 people went missing after rushing to help with the rescue effort and caught in a second landslide.
Some officials who visited the site with relief supplies had posed for a picture which is widely circulated on social media like Facebook and Twitter.
Hundreds of people have expressed their comments about the photo showing Senior Advisor to the President Nimatullah Shahrani, Agriculture Minister Mohammad Asif Rahimi and Economy Minister Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal along with two lawmakers from Badakhshan.
The visiting officials were part of a delegation to supply relief goods to the victims.
Afghanistan Civil Societies Federation chief Mansoor Ansari on his Facebook wall had condemned the picture and wrote: “Hundreds of people were buried alive in the mudslide, with the Afghans from Kunar to Badghis mourning the natural calamity. But the rescue government team posed for pictures with laughing faces.”
“Our young women and children lost shelter, but the officials were given a red carpet welcome so their shoes not get dirty. The survivors are awaiting government’s aid, but the vice-president says he has phoned (NATO commander in Afghanistan Gen. Joseph) Dunford for help.”
Another Facebook user Wasim Sajjad on his wall wrote: “These government men have gone to Badakhshan to assist the rescue effort and are posing for photos in a happy mood on the mass grave for the victims.”
Former Nangarhar counternarcotics chief Wakil Attak has also shared the photo on his Facebook wall. “This nation and its officials, God may forgive us.”
Writer and journalist Maulana Abdullah Mahmoodi commented “curse on these officials.”
“Beneath the earth, there is a catastrophe, but on the surface, (lawmakers) Fauzia Kofi and Mariam Kofi are busy taking photos with Cabinet ministers.”
Another Facebook user Aminzada wrote: “Alam pa sa di aw Mir Alam pa sa di.”
Hundreds of people on their twitter account have strongly condemned the picture, amid an ongoing fund-raising campaign across the nation to assist the survivors.
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