Govt’s writ widened in Maiwand: official
KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): Government’s writ has been widened in the Maiwand district of southern Kandahar province as a result of a series of security operations, the district chief said on Thursday.
Haji Obaidullah told Pajhwok Afghan News during an exclusive interview that areas which remained under Taliban’s control over the past 13 years had been captured and brought under the government’s control.
He said the security operations had resulted in preventing militants’ activities and curtailing drug smuggling.
He mentioned Khamir Qala, Kashno and Band Taimor among the areas, which had been controlled by insurgents for years and now cleared of them. “The areas also served as drug smuggling cenres.”
The official said the captured areas included roads, which the Taliban had been using to travel to Pakistan and smugglers to transfer drugs to the Behramchi area.
The district chief said a widespread uprising by residents of the Khamir Qala resulted in purging the area of militants. Now a local police force has been raised and deployed in the area to keep security.
Haji Obaiudllah said search operations were ongoing over the past few months in areas still under rebels’ control.
He said insurgents used to hide in deserts during daytime and carry out their terrorist activities during nighttime due to the operations.
Maiwand borders Sangin district’s Malmon area in neighboring Helmand province. The security situation in Sangin has an impact on the situation in Maiwand, the district chief conceded.
He claimed plans had been chalked out to completely cleanse the town from insurgents and drive them from areas where they still held sway.
The official said the insurgents would not be able to threaten the security situation with the advent of summer because people’s cooperation with security forces had drastically increased. He said all residents wanted the security operations to be extended to their areas.
To a question, the official acknowledged widespread cultivation of poppy crop in Maiwand this season, but said an eradication campaign was underway since a month in areas, which had never seen such campaigns over the past 13 years.
He said residents were compelled to cultivate the banned crop due to a lack of irrigation water. He said the level of groundwater in the district had plummeted, affecting orchards and agriculture fields.
He urged the central government to resolve the issue of irrigation water in the district. “During Sardar Mohammad Duad Khan’s government, there was a plan that a canal carrying water from the Kajaki dam to Maiwand, Ghorak and other districts would be constructed to resolve the irrigation issue, but that plan was not executed,” he recalled.
The district chief called the lack of irrigation water the main problem being faced by local farmers and orchard owners, asking the government to implement Duad’s era plan.
He said the proposed canal project had been twice surveyed and needed to be implemented.
About development activities in Maiwand, the official said several projects were underway under the Food Zone and National Solidarity Programmes, keeping residents engaged to a great extent. The projects would be extended to areas cleared from militants, he promised.
He said seven schools, including one high, were operational in the town, where another eight schools would be reopened once the areas concerned were cleared from militants.
Maiwand is 70 kilometres from Kandahar City, the provincial capital, along the Kandahar-Herat highway. The town is one of the largest and strategic areas of Kandahar province.
Most residents in Maiwand are associated with farming and livestock. Wheat, maize and cotton are common crops.
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