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Amu River continues to swallow Afghan land: Balkhis

Amu River continues to swallow Afghan land: Balkhis

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Feb 01, 2020 - 20:21

MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): The Amu River damaged and submerged tens of acres of more land in Shortepa and Kaldar districts of northern Balkh province, local residents said on Saturday.

They said they had shared the issue with the government several times, but failed to elicit a positive response. They accused the central government of being irresponsible in this regard.

Officials in charge of the river bank said they were prepared for emergency situation, but permanent infrastructure required resources.

The Amu River begins from Pamir Mountains and enters Turkmenistan after a long journey between Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistaninfo-icon and also makes border with neighbouring countries.

Every year in spring and summer seasons when the river floods, it overflows banks and the water enters into Shortepa and Kaldar districts.

The residents of these districts claimed that the Amu River damaged tens of acres of land this year and swallowed =tens of acres of land on Afghanistan side.

Abdul Rahman, a resident of Shortepa district, said if the Amu River was not controlled, it would destroy hundreds of homes in the district.

He added in the past five years, the river destroyed Shaikh and Choqar villages completely and the land it occupied was considered part of Uzbekistan.

“We don’t know what will happen in coming spring, most of our areas are under direct threat of flood. The government pays no attention, officials visit the area every year and conduct their survey, but no steps have been taken to prevent the water from damaging our villages,” he said.

Malak Mohammad Agha, a resident of Shortepa district and a tribal elder, said nearly 50 acres of land in their village had been occupied by Amu River water.

“Uzbekistan has made proper arrangements by consolidating the river sides and when there is flood situation, the water moves towards Afghanistan.”

Qurban Nazar, a resident of Kaldar district, said threat from Amu River had reached high level.

The Tazaq area was the worst affected by water in Kaldar district if no attention was paid to the threat, more land would be occupied by the water.

Meanwhile, the Provincial Council accused the central government of not taking steps to consolidate banks of Amu River in order to control water from damaging or occupying the land.

Haji Abdul Wakeel, the Provincial Council member, said threat from Amu River water was a huge problem in the north.

He said the Provincial Council members had shared their concerns with the president two years back during his trip to the province regarding the damage being done by the Amu River on the Afghan side of the border.

He warned if the problem was not tackled, more families would be displaced and more agricultural land, mosques and clinics would be destroyed.

Provincial Council member Dr.Najib Paikan said Afghanistan continued to lose its land to the neighbouring country as Amu River swallowed Afghan land each year.

He said the problem was historic but the current and previous governments paid no attention to it.

“Millions of afghanis were spent on temporary infrastructure to control water. The government should work on durable infrastructure to control water and its damage.”

Eng. Hashmatullah Watanyar, head of the River Zone Department, said the Amu River flowed 200 kilometres in Balkh province.

He said they were prepared for emergency situation and acknowledged the actual border through Amu River in Shortepa and Kaldar districts had been eliminated.

 He said in some areas the Amu River had entered even four kilometres inside Afghanistan.

According to a survey conducted by the River Zone Department, the Amu River damaged 500 acres land annually in Balkh province.

He said if funds were made available, their department would carry out fundamental infrastructure to stop further damage by the river.

nh/ma

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