Insecurity shuts government departments in Helmand
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): Recent clashes have forced the closure of governmental department across southern Helmand province except Lashkargah and Greshk, creating severe problems for residents, officials said.
The provincial council’s security committee head, Bashir Ahmad Shakir, told Pajhwok Afghan News all districts of the province were under Taliban’s siege and only district centres were with the government, used as bases.
According to him, the recent fighting has led to the collapse of some districts and suspension of civic services. The 4th police district of Lashkargah had been out of government control over the past 11 months.
“Delivery of civil services has come to a halt in the districts, and governmental installations are being used as trenches.”Shakir linked enhanced insecurity to the stoppage of civil services.
Shakir said, for example, government officials including Lashkargah-based judges had left the province.
Another member of the provincial council, Hayatullah Mayar, said hospitals and schools had been closed and there was no one present in other governmental organisations as well.
Most of those families, whose youths are serving in security forces, have also left the districts, he said, adding such households have moved to Lashkargah. They are unlikely to return to their areas.
Meanwhile, the Helmand’s appellate court prosecutor, Fazal Sultan Sapi, said officials were working only in the capital Lashkargah and Greshk district.
“We have staff in other districts as well but they couldn’t discharge their duties because of insecurity.”
Agriculture Director Rafiullah Qalam acknowledged his subordinates could not come to work due to ongoing clashes in some districts. They are working on projects only in the provincial capital and Greshk.
A tribal elder in the Nad Ali district said on condition of anonymity there was no government official in his area and people referred to Taliban for resolving their disputes.
Marja district resident Sher Mohammad claimed fighting had been ongoing in the town and there was no government in the town. He said security forces were inside the district centres, from where they fought against the Taliban.
The governor’s spokesman, Omar Zwak, confirmed the absence of civil services in some districts. But security forces were making all-out efforts to ensure security and provide people with facilities, he added.
Except for the four districts, which are completely under Taliban control, security forces have a presence in all other areas, trying to control situation there.
Helmand is the most insecure province of Afghanistan, with four of its districts overrun by insurgents. Kajaki, Sangin, Washer, Nad Ali, Marja, Nawa, Garmser and Khanshin district centres are under the government’s control.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.