More than 15,000 families displaced this year

Monitoring Desk

JALALABAD: Officials in Nangarhar province say 15,314 families have been displaced as a result of war in the province during the current solar year.

They say 13,665 of the displaced households have received, including food, clothes and cash. About 60 percent of the displaced are from Khogyani district.

But amazingly, displaced families from Ghazni and Baghlan, located far away from Nangarhar, are also residing in the province for security reasons.

Official estimates show the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) is higher than 100,000 constituting a significant portion of Nangarhar’s population.

A report from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) says that 50,000 people have been driven from homes in the Khogyani district of Nangarhar alone. Besides demanding emergency assistance, the displaced families want the authorities concerned to pave the ground for an early return to their homes.

The IDPs say the aid provided to them is far from enough, particularly during the current harsh winter.

Refugees and Repatriation Director Ghulam Haidar Faqirzai told Pajhwok Afghan News that 15,314 families had been displaced by war in Nangarhar this solar year.

He said more than 60 percent of the IDPs belonged to the Khogyani district of the province — affected by recent clashes between Taliban and Daesh militant groups.

He added: “8,169 displaced families are from Khogyani, 85 from Kot, 510 from Achin, 198 from Haska Mina, 1,789 from Pachiragam, seven from Sherzad, 574 from Chaparhar, eight from Surkh Rod and 455 from Lalpura districts.”

Six displaced families from Ghazni and Baghlan provinces are also living in Nangarhar, according to Faqirzai, who indicated the number of IDPs might be higher.

The officials have surveyed only those individuals who were entitled to receive aid, he explained, saying 13,665 of the families had received assistance from different organisations.

On the other hand, the affected households complained the aid they received was not enough. They asked the government to ensure their return to their areas.

Hajam Khan, a resident of the Shadal area of Achin district, said he had been visiting the refugees and repatriation department for aid for two months. Finally, he was given some food items only.

He said he was jobless and had to pay house rent. “This aid cannot solve my problems,” he commented, urging more concrete steps to resolve their plight. “Our main demand is an honourable and early return to our own homes. Security should be ensured and we will go back to our areas,” the man continued.

Sardar Mohammad, who has been displaced from the Wazir Tangi area of Khogyani district, said they were faced with serious problems due to freezing temperatures.

Living in a tent in Chamtala Township, he was recently given only 9,000 afghanis by the department concerned.

Mohammad said that security should be ensured in their area so they could go back to their homes. He called an early return home more important than aid. But the governor’s spokesman, Attaullah Khogyani, insisted aid was continually being delivered to displaced people. He acknowledged the amount of assistance was inadequate.

About the security issue, he said: “An operation is underway in Khogyani. We will extend it to Achin, Haska Mina, Pachiragam and other districts. But we need time; we will gradually improve security for the people.”