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Maruf district residents remain deprived of services

Maruf district residents remain deprived of services

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May 12, 2019 - 16:39

KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): Residents of Maruf district of southern Kandahar province say they have long been deprived of access to educationinfo-icon, healthinfo-icon and telecom services.

They say the situation worsened after the Talibaninfo-icon attacked the district headquarters and the government then shifted the district administration to another area.

Abdullah Afghan, a resident of Maruf district, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the district was under Taliban’s control while government forces were stationed in a few security posts in Salison area of the district on the Durand Lineinfo-icon.

The district headquarters, previously located in Yousuf Nika area, were attacked by Taliban militants after a long lasting siege, forcing local officials to move the office to another area.

Afghan said the already limited services were totally stopped after the district headquarters were moved elsewhere. Lack of schools and education programs was one of the major problems of the people here, he said.

He said schools had a symbolic presence in the district from the past and salaries of teachers went to personal pockets.

However, he said the teachers no longer received salaries over the last two years.

“Local people now want real schools in their area and Taliban insurgents have probably no problem with that”, he said.

Afghan said the district’s clinic building was also destroyed during the Taliban attack and needed reconstructioninfo-icon.

“Chief of Maruf district does not come to the district center and he is working from Spin Boldak district”, he said.

Rahmatullah, another resident, said lack of education and health services and blockade of roads were main problems of people.

“Taliban have blocked the main road to the district by planting bombs on it, they do not allow anyone to use the road and Afghan forces on the other hand stop people using subways and force them to use the main road,” he said.

He said residents of the district had to travel to Kandahar through Zabul province, a journey that took a whole day.

“People have to start their trip from early morning and pass through Atghar, Naw Bahar, Shenkai and Sewri districts and capital of Zabul province for reaching Kandahar, they will arrive at night there,” he said.

Rahmatullah said the road through Zabul province was unpaved and patients with serious health problems often lost their lives on the way due to the long distance to reach a hospital.

"People who grow fruits and vegetables are also highly affected because their products decay on the road to Kandahar and due to high transport costs”, he said.

He said government officials had several times promised to construct the 74 kilometers road between Arghistan and Maruf districts, but no action could be taken so far taken on the regard.

“Currently people travel a distance of three hours in a full day”, he said, adding that besides transportation problems, local people were in trouble in the absence of telecom services.

He said telecom towers were destroyed during the Taliban attack on the district center. He asked the government to resolve the mentioned problems.

Kandahar local administration acknowledged problems of Maruf people and said a plan was in progress to resolve these issues.

Kandahar governor’s spokesman, Aziz Ahmad Azizi, told Pajhwok that Taliban had blocked Maruf district’s road to Kandahar city.

He said the local administration together with security organs was working on a plan to reopen the road and ensure its security.

The budget for construction of Maruf district road had been approved and the project would be implemented once security improved in the area, he said.

Azizi said the district’s clinic building was destroyed by the Taliban but the local administration was trying to reconstruct it and resume health services to public.

About education, he said the provincial education department was working to deliver teachers’ salaries in the district through banking system for transparency in the payment process.

Three months back, the Taliban claimed capturing the center of Maruf district after a two-year siege, but government officials rejected the claim and said they had just moved the district headquarters from its original place to another area.

Col. Rahmatullah Atrafi, Kandahar deputy police chief, said the decision to move the headquarters of Maruf district was made due to low population of people in the old area.

He said the district headquarters of Maruf district had been moved eight kilometers away from its original site.

The old headquarters operated in a mud-made fort which sustained heavy damage when the Taliban attacked it with an explosives-laden Humvee vehicle. The deadly attack caused casualties to security forces including the district police chief.

mds/ma

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