Pakistani forces eyeing to cut forests in Paktika

 Thu 20 Apr 2017

SHARANA (SW): Residents of Paktika province have been compelled by Pakistan’s spy agency the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to cut-down forests along the Durand Line.

Local elders and members of the parliament from the province have told Salam Watandar that such activities are going on rampantly in the Gomal, Shakeen and Barmal areas of the province. Jumadin Geenwal, senator from the province, has said the ISI agents are luring the locals to cut the forests, and in return have tons of beans, rice and pulses. “In the Radano area of the Kharoti tribe, the ISI brought tons of pulses, rice and beans, they want the forests to be cut in a bid to achieve their vicious targets”, he said.

Naimatullah Baburi, member of the provincial council, has acknowledged that the Pakistani border forces are asking the locals to cut down at least 2 kilometers of the forests. He added the Gomal, Shakeen and Barmal areas have thick forest, and this move would leave negative impacts on them. “The locals have told us that the Pakistani forces have told them to either cut the forests and take away the wood, or the Pakistani forces would cut the forests themselves and take away the wood”, he said.

Gen. Raz Mohammad, commander of the Afghan Border Police (ABP) in the area, said in this regard that the security forces would not allow Pakistani forces to go ahead with this move. “We had a meeting with the Pakistani officials two days ago, they said they feel threatened because of these forests, but we have made it clear that they have no right to even touch forests on our soil”, he added.

Meanwhile, the provincial governor Elyas Wahdat has said tribes living on both sides of the Durand Line would resist this move by the Pakistani forces.