People themselves are maintaining Arghandab security
KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): The administrative chief of the Arghandab district in southern Kandahar province has said security forces have been able to bring stability to the town but insecurity in neighbouring districts represent a threat.
Haji Shah Mohammad Ahmadi expressed the views in an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News. He said residents of the district had been inducted into the Afghan Local Police (ALP) and strangers prevented from infiltrating into the area.
He, however, expressed concern militants might sneak into Arghandab from Shah Walikot and Khakrez districts. Maintaining security was also a public responsibility, he remarked, saying the elders and residents of Arghandab supported the government and would not allow foreigners to disturb public order.
Ahmadi said militants were out to mount pressure on tribal elders and brought them under their influence but there was public support for the elders. “Militants in Arghandab are persuading people to cultivate poppies and have promised each farmer Rs300,000.
Some years back, he said, poppy cultivation in the town declined to zero, but the government failed to keep the promise held out to the people. Arghandab was removed from the list of Food Zone Programme despite bringing poppy cultivation to zero.
Ahmadi demanded the central government provide assistance to residents as nobody in Arghandab cultivated poppies.
He also spoke of the development projects, saying a 26 metres long bridge had been constructed in the Merab Khor locality under the National Solidarity Programme (NSP) at a cost of over 3 million afghanis. Over 300 families will benefit from the project.
He said the construction of a bridge in Mazraa village was underway as 80 percent work on it had been completed. The bridge over Zahir Shahi Canal would help around 400 families to travel from one area to another.
Ahmadi continued the construction of embankments along Arghandab River began recently. Building the 31 kilometers wall would cost $22 million and would take five years to complete.
Work on the project was delayed for some time due to funds paucity, but it had resumed and would prevent farmlands from destruction when completed, Ahmadi hoped.
He called the project important, saying it was approved by the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development as result of repeated demands from the people. Funded by MRRD and implemented by a local construction company called APG, the project has created jobs for hundreds of locals.
But Ahmadi asked the central government to launch the second phase of work on the embankment. The second phase begins the building of a wall from the Baba Wali Ziarat to Bagh Pul.
He said there were 22 schools in the district, where 4,500 students were enrolled. However, he criticized the department for its negligence in dealing with related issues. Most of schools had no boundary walls and education materials and professional teachers, he explained.
On public health facilities, Ahmadi said three clinics built during the King Mohammad Zahir Shah government were functioning in the district, whose population had increased and needed at least nine more clinics.
About farming, Ahmadi said Arghandab was one of important agricultural districts of Kandahar, having many pomegranate gardens. He urged the government to extend electricity to the district, build roads and help farmers export fruits.
Arghandab is located 10 kilometres northwest of Kandahar City, the provincial capital. It is one of the greenest districts of Kandahar, famous for its sprawling grape and pomegranate gardens.
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