NATO exit leaves Arghandab struggling
KANDAHAR (Pajhwok): Despite improved security, work on reconstruction projects has been halted in the Arghandab of southern Kandahar province after foreign troops’ withdrawal.
Haji Shah Mohammad Ahmadi, the town’s administrative head, told Pajhwok Afghan News during an exclusive interview that foreign forces had helped them implement a number of reconstruction projects but the process stopped after they left the area.
Projects implemented by foreign troops included water dams, bridges, roads, streams and others, he said, adding the NATO-led troops had also been assisting local farmers
“Currently only the Stability in Key Areas (SIKA) organization is working here,” he said.
Ahmadi criticised the central government for not paying attention to the district, where people faced many problems.
The Food Zone Programme (FZP) is yet to be implemented in the town to prevent poppy growing and drug smuggling.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-administrated FZP is implemented in two years in a district to eliminate poppy cultivation and drug smuggling.
Ahmadi said Arghandab was among the districts where poppy had not been cultivated over the past two years. Residents wished FZP would help farmers increase their agricultural production, but nothing was done by it.
The district chief said most residents were associated with farming in the district, known for pomegranates, grapes and other fresh fruits.
He complained fresh fruits often decayed due to lack of transportation facilities to the market and other provinces.
About the security situation, he said, ensuring security had been difficult after the withdrawal of foreign forces, but Afghan Local Police (ALP) forces were able to control the situation.
However, he said the ALP personnel did not receive their salaries, which he said was a serious problem and asked the central governance to resolve it.
Talking about schools’ situation, Ahmadi, said only 16 out of 19 schools were open and some students were taught in rented houses and under bad conditions. A shortage of professional teachers is another problem hindering the education process.
About health services, the official said, there were only three healthcare centers, which could not cope with the increasing number of patients.
He asked the central administration to pay attention to these problems and take effective measures for their solution.
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