Powerful loggers smuggling timber to Pakistan
KABUL (Pajhwok): A civil society group, Khatiz Public Health Association (KPHA), on Saturday asked the government to amend the law on forests and direct ambassadors in neighbouring countries to prevent illegal timber smuggling from Afghanistan,
The organisation said most forests in eastern zone, including Kunar and Nuristan, and southeastern zone (Khost, Paktia and Paktika provinces) were illegally hacked away by powerful individuals and then smuggled to Pakistan.
According the Central Statistics Department, only three percent of Afghanistan’s forests remain and 66.5 percent of the jungles have been destroyed over the past three decades. Forests help keep clean atmosphere and prevent floods and land’s erosion.
Marking the International Forests Day, KPHA on Saturday said the issue of illegal logging had not been seriously tackled by the Afghan government.
A member of the organisation, Eng Izzatullah Sadiqi, told the gathering in Kabul, jungle trees in eastern zone were illegally logged by strongmen and then smuggled the timber to Pakistan.
“The trees are rooted out and cannot grow again,” he said, asking the government to amend the law on forests’ protection and direct Afghanistan’s ambassadors in neighbouring countries to convince authorities there to prevent illegal sale of Afghanistan trees.
“If illegal logging continues, neither the government nor the people would benefit from forests,” Sadiqi said.
He promised to draw the government’s attention to the issue and said some strongmen in Ghor and Badghis provinces were also involved in illegal cutting of jungles.
The organization’s head, Sayed Habib Oral, said cutting forests left a negative impact on the atmosphere and they sought government’s attention in this regard.
He said KPHA was founded in 2012 and it worked nationwide to prevent forests from being destroyed.
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