Senate team restricts timber transfer from Kunar
The delegation that visited Kunar, said local officials were not involved in illegal smuggling of the wood.
Deforestation has been ongoing in Kunar over the past few decades. But the Afghan government last year imposed restrictions on transferring wood from the province.
However, the Ministers’ Council a few months back permitted the transfer of wood-built items and furniture based on local industrialists and wood factories owners’ demand.
Recently reports in social media and mainstream media appeared about smuggling of wood from Kunar amid claims local authorities have a big hand in the smuggling.
To investigate the issue, a Meshrano Jirga delegation headed by Senator Mohammad Hashim Alokozai was sent to the province. The delegation submitted its investigation report to the upper house on Tuesday.
Alokozai said according to a Cabinet decision, the only Kunar governor allowed 20 furniture-loaded trucks to transfer the commodity on a daily basis.
However, he said some circles illegally smuggled timber in form of furniture in trucks. The provincial police chief had also stopped 57 timber-loaded trucks after their seizure.
The lawmaker said until processed and unprocessed wood materials were not separated, concern about its smuggling would increase.
Alokozay said all problems were created by the council of ministers because it did not distinguish processed and unprocessed wood products.
According to the Meshrano Jirga delegation, the Kunar governor has twice asked the council of ministers to review its decision about processed and raw materials, but the council did not cooperate with the governor.
Alokozay said they met local officials, industrialists, factories’ owners, representatives of protestors, local residents and transport representatives during their trip to Kunar.
“We found that local officials were not involved in illegal transportation of wood in Kunar,” he said, adding that the issue had been shared with the Presidential Palace and wood transportation had been suspended until a decision from the president came.
Kunar governor Wahidullah Kalimzai told Pajhwok that a delegation from the Meshrano Jirga visited the province and returned to Kabul after meeting different people on Monday.
He said another delegation by the Presidential Palace also arrived in Asadabad on Tuesday.
The delegation would meet officials concerned about the dispute over illegal wood transportation, he said.
An industrialist from Kunar, Khan Mohammad, said he requested the Meshrano Jirga delegation to respect the decision of the council of ministers and implement it.
“We are also against deforestation and illegal wood trafficking, it is the responsibility of our security forces to take action against it,” he said.
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