Development News from Afghanistan

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Badakhshan forests, meadows grabbed by strongmen

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FAIZABAD, Dec 6 (Pajhwok Afghan News): Over 40 percent of a forest trees have been felled and meadows grabbed illegally by powerful people in the northern Badakhshan province, officials confirmed on Thursday.

Agriculture Director Muhammad Alam Alami, in a chat with Pajhwok Afghan News, the damage to the forested area in the province resulted from decades of war. Badakhshan contained vast grazing land and a useful habitat for wild life.

With the forest cover in the province shrinking, wild animals and birds including eagles are migrating to neighbouring countries Pakistan, China and Tajikistan. Alami recalled more than 60,000 hectares of forests and meadows in Badakhshan attracted cattle from Baghlan, Takhar, Kunduz and southern provinces in the past.

The jungles needed to be revived and the unlawfully occupied pastures vacated by strongmen to prevent precious wild life from imminent distinction and help poor people reliant on income from animal products, the director stressed.

On Wednesday, a three-day workshop – organised by the National Environment Protection Agency (NEPA) and sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) concluded in Faizabad.

UNEP Law Department head in Afghanistan Abdul Qadir Karyab said 50 government officials were trained in law and environmental protection. The participants were educated on how to promote awareness among locals about the importance of forests and pastures.

Meanwhile, deputy police chief said they were ready to take action against the land grabbers, if approached by the Agriculture Department.

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Written by afghandevnews

December 9, 2007 at 2:31 am

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