Pajhwak Afghan News, December 6, 2007
A remote district haunted by murder & mayhem
"There is no school, no health facility in the entire village," complains Ramazan from Nangarkhel village
KABUL: Residents of Wazikhwa district of the Pakthika province live in constant fear of being struck by Taliban insurgents. "Visiting this area is not without risk," says Khair Mohammad, an elderly person, standing by a deserted shop.
Moments earlier, six Taliban having daggers, entered the area on motorbikes, he adds. It is a deserted bazaar of Wazikhwa district in Gwashthi area near Nangarkhel village - attacked some four months back with heavy artillery by Polish soldiers with ISAF.
Villagers recall seven people - mostly women and children - were killed and three others injured in that attack. Khair Mohammad is not weary of Taliban alone. He alleges security forces are an equal threat to civilians. He insists both sides care too hoots for residents while shooting it out.
A dweller of Gwashthi, who does not want to be named, says the locals call this area a 'death trap' and even small convoy of security forces could not dare enter it. "An engineer, who recently came here to oversee a reconstruction project, fled away due to the precarious security situation. Later his assistant ventured into the neighbourhood. He was slaughtered by Taliban."
Nearly 6,000 people have been killed in Afghanistan over the past 17 months. Some 1,500 of them have been civilians.
Reuters, Jun 18, 2007
Mohammad Gul, owner of a kiosk in the bazaar, says: "We cant talk openly with anyone because it is difficult to tell fighters apart from security personnel." All wear similar dresses. Every person is deeply mistrustful of whoever he comes across, he continues.
"There is no school, no health facility in the entire village," complains Ramazan from Nangarkhel village. He points out Taliban are dead-set against the establishment of schools and other facilities in the village, witness to murder and mayhem. Patients have to travel for hours to another district in quest of medical treatment.
Abdul Hayee, administrative chief of Wazikhwa, does not dispute the enormous influence of Taliban in the district - situated about 135 kilometres south of the provincial capital Sharan. Some quarters are supportive of the government while others are firmly behind Taliban, he goes on.
Murderous militant activities have effectively stymied the reconstruction process here, according to the district chief, who points out: "Despite having a population of 75,000, the district has no hospital. There is a small clinic and that too is situated in the base of security forces. Locals dont want to take females for treatment there."
Most of the 45 schools in Wazikhwa have no buildings, Abdul Hayee says while referring to the lengthy list of desiderata
For his part, district police chief Abdul Shakoor views a lack of coordination between locals and foreign security forces as the main cause of the deteriorating law and order situation. But Maj. Gen. Nabi Jan Mullahkhel, police chief of Paktika, assures they would soon bring security to the district with the cooperation of its residents.
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