If peace comes, I will return home and farm my land: Gul Noor

MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Gul Noor, a 65 years old man, in northern Balkh province has been displaced by war from his village. He says his 25 acres of land has turned arid due to the conflict but hopes he will return to his area and will rehabilitate his farms once peace comes.
Noor who currently lives in a IDPs camp in Mazar-i-Sharif city, the provincial capital, is a resident of Shulgara district. He left his village, land and house a year back and was displaced along with his family and relatives. Pajhwok correspondent found Noor in front of his tent while playing with his grandchildren. He stayed in his tent today because he could not find a work.
In an interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, he said he was waiting for the arrival of peace so he would be able to return to his area and rehabilitate his land. Noor pointed to nearby torn tents and said that all the people living there were his villagers who fled war. “Around 50 families in this area are from our village alone, most of them are my relatives, no one could live in the village, we did not feel safe during the day or night, we came here for our survival,” he said.
He said that they had a total of 25 acres of land in their area which they cultivated and collected crops from it every year, but now the land had turned arid as there was no one left to take care. “We could not work in our farm land, war planes would drop bombs on us and our houses were hit with mortar strikes, we were forced to leave our area and pushed into a life of poverty,” Noor said. He now waits for peace to come so they would be able to return to their areas.
“If peace comes, I will not stay here even for a day, I will rehabilitate my land, work on my land and win bread for my children,” he said. He added that he lost 15 of his relatives in various conflict related incidents in the last four decades. Noor was tired of war and asked Taliban and the government to agree on peace. “If this war was winnable, it would have been won in the four decades, only ordinary Afghans lose their lives, there is still time for peace, I ask Taliban and the government to agree on peace and stop creating more troubles for the nation,” he said.
About withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan, he said that no excuse would be left for any side to continue the war. He added that the war would worsen and more people would be displaced if the conflict was not stopped now. There are speculations in Balkh province that a large number of people living in districts have left their areas and displaced to other locations fearing a rise in the violence.
Ghulam Rassoul Malakzai, a social and political affairs activist in Mazar-i-Sharif city said that many people in unstable districts of Balkh had left their areas and moved to other places due to war. In some areas, people have fully withdrawn from their villages and moved to other areas, he said, adding that displacement of people created many problems besides poverty people faced now.
“There are many villages I know which are completely vacated, people’s lands are left unfarmed, their gardens dried, they have no any income source now,” he said. According to the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation (MoRR), around 4.1 million people around the country are displaced by war with some of them in urgent need of assistance. Balkh refugees and repatriation director, Sayed Massoud Qaderi said that their estimations show 25,000 families have been displaced in the province. He said that some of the displaced people lived in tents and camps and some of them required urgent help.