Anti-deforestation plan ready to go into effect, says Durrani

Monitoring Desk

JALALABAD: Agriculture, irrigation and livestock minister said concerns about arbitrary deforestation remained, but a plan to prevent the illegal practice has been readied.

Nasir Ahmad Durrani said insecurity and internal and regional mafia groups had paved the way for arbitrary deforestations in Afghanistan.

Addressing a conference at the governor’s house in Jalalabad, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province, the minister said jungles were the nation’s most valuable asset and their cutting was affecting the whole of the country.

He accused internal and regional mafias of using insecurity in the country as an opportunity for illegal deforestation and their smuggling outside the country.

But Durrani said a plan had been prepared for prevention of illegal logging and would be implemented soon.

Routes through which timber is illegally trafficked would be blocked with the help of security forces and local residents would be provided economic development opportunities for prevention of deforestation, the minister said.

“We will give seeds of different plants to people in these areas and will train them how to plant seeds, it would improve their economy,” he added.

He said the ministry had also created associations of people residing near jungles and they were provided procedures for benefiting from forest and protect trees against any threats.

About Kunar province, he said most of the forests in that province contained fruitless trees and a plan had been developed to grow walnut and citrus trees in Kunar, which would help improve locals’ economy and prevent jungles from being cut down.

Nangarhar Governor Hayatullah Hayat said he would take serious action against timber mafia and illegal loggers. He said officials who failed to stop illegal deforestation and wood trafficking would be also taken to task.

Two days back, the Meshrano Jirga expressed concern about illegal deforestation in Kunar and demanded the creation of a special unit for protection of jungles. (Pajhwok)