Kunar governor vows crackdown on timber mafia
ASADABAD (Pajhwok): The governor of eastern Kunar province on Wednesday said he had started efforts at ensuring security, good governance and banishing administrative corruption.
Wahidullah Kalimzai told Pajhwok Afghan News in an interview that Kunar residents, like many other provinces, suffered due to problems like insecurity, corruption and weak governance. He said he had initiated some steps for reforms in the province.
Due to Kunar’s location along the Durand Line border, threats to security could be felt more in the province, he said.
He said enough security forces had been deployed across the province, but blamed security gaps on the lack of coordination among security organs, something he planned to deal with.
Kalimzai said he transferred back to their original posts some district chiefs who had been sent to other districts with an eye on reforms.
He admitted some individuals had been appointed on the basis of nepotism that undermined the process of good governance.
The governor has started investigations into activities of some departments and would take decisions about their fate once the investigations are over.
Based on his information, Kalimzai said some government posts had been sold to individuals against bribes.
“In the past, laws and services were not fully implemented. For instance, some powerful people would have 24-hour electricity, but common people would not have it for an hour,” he noted.
The governor said he would also tackle the problem of corruption and land usurpation in the province on a priority basis.
He promised not only to recover the usurped public lands, but also the private properties which had been encroached upon by officials and powerful men.
About the smuggling of precious stones and timber to Pakistan, Kalimzai said preventing them topped his first 100-day action plan.
He said some security officials were complicit in smuggling of precious stones and timber, but many of them had already been detained.
Efforts were being made to detain the main smugglers who cut trees and jungles and smuggle them, the governor said.
He said the cabinet under former president Hamid Karzai had allowed transfer of timber from Kunar to other provinces, but some people misused that decision.
“Now the process is being monitored properly,” he said.
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