Paktika police cutting down pine nut trees: Residents

Wednesday, 11 April 2018 03:29 Written by  Read 132 times

Some residents in several districts of southeastern Paktika province have accused police of cutting down pine nuts trees, a charge the force denies.
Speaking to Pajhwok, Niamatullah, a resident of Ziruk district, said police had recently started cutting down the pine nuts in the district’s forests.
“What the police are doing is illegal, they then sell the trees to timber traders,” the resident alleged.
Yehya Zadran, a resident of Washana area of the Ziruk district, said: “We have several times shared the issue with security officials but so far no one has taken action to prevent it. Police continue to cut down the pine nut trees on a daily basis.”
He said local tribal elders had signed agreements with the government on preventing all people from cutting the chilghoza trees, but police were doing it at force.
Mursal, a resident of Gayan district, said both police and border forces were involved in the illegal deforestation.
A number of other residents of Paktika held similar views and they asked the government to prevent the ‘felony.’

Noorullah Sabawon, Paktika’s agriculture director, also confirmed pine nut trees had been cut down in a number of Paktika districts. However, he did not name the perpetrators.
“We have shared this issue many times with the governor’s house, but no solution could be found so far,” he said.
He added Sar Hawza, Gayan, Zirouk, Omna, Nika, Gomal and Barmal districts had wide pine nut forests and keeping the trees was responsibility of every Afghan.
But Paktika police spokesman Shah Mahmod Aryan denied the police were complicit in the cutting down of pine nut trees.
“We have tribal agreements in many districts based on which no one including police can cut down pine nut trees,” he said. However, he said the issue would be investigated.
Pine nut trees in Paktika, like in many other provinces, are public property but both their protection and colleting harvests is the responsibility of local people.

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