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PAN, March 23, 2009

Laghman IDPs await emergency aid

The first bombardment by the US led forces took place on September 29, 2008 and the second on January 24, 2009.

Najibullah Inqilabi

LAGHMAN: Residents of Garoch village in eastern Laghman province, who fled their homes as a result of several US forces air raids, are in dire need of shelters, fuel and drinking water in their makeshift arrangements near the capital city of Mehtarlam.

Garoch village northwest to Mehtarlam is surrounded by mountains range connecting to Sarobi district of Kabul province came under US air-strikes thrice, forcing the residents to flee and take refuge in Mehtarlam city.

The first bombardment by the US led forces took place on September 29, 2008 and the second on January 24, 2009.

The strikes forced hundreds of families to leave their houses and take refuge in Mehtarlam city bereft of the basic necessities of life.

Currently, 250 families are huddled in tents and other makeshift arrangements.

Protest in Laghman over civilian
Afghan villagers shout slogans against the U.S. and Afghan governments during a demonstration following a U.S. operation in their village, in Mehterlam, capital of Laghman province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan on Sunday, Jan. 25, 2009. (AP Photo by Rahmat Gul)

An elder of these Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), Malak Hazratullah told Pajhwok Afghan News that they fled Garoch village in wake of serial US forces air strikes and have been living in the desert near Mehtarlam in their temporary arrangements.

"Initially, the government provided us food stuffs and drinking water, but now we are facing severe shortage of food and water," Hazratullah added.

According to him, the department of refugees' affairs has been demanding of them to provide fuel to the vehicle of fetching water for them while the displaced people say had even no money to get food.

Hazratullah further said they had informed the concerned officials regarding their problems and if no relief is provided to them, they would stage a sit-in in front of the Governor's House or would travel to a neighboring country.

"The government is just making promises with us, but in practical gives no relief," he alleged.

Another displaced person, Naqibullah, told that a recent outbreak of an epidemic killed three children.

He said the most sufferers of the situation were the women, who covered a five kilometers of distance to fetch water for their families.

He said a recent sandstorm in the desert threw away the tent of a family and if the rain started, they would confront with a new challenging situation.

Naqibullah said there is nothing for leading a life in Garoch village, as houses are being ruined, household animals are being killed and the lands have become barren.

"We are also in trouble here, but have no other options," he said.

A 55-year-old white-bearded Rahim Gul said he neither wants to live in the desert, nor he wants to travel Pakistan, but wants to go him home in Garoch, if allowed to live by the Americans.

"We have no water to perform ablution and the women and children travel a long distance for bringing water to drink," he adds.

"What kind of government is this and what kind of human rights they speak of as we are dying of thirst while a five kilometers away people bath in water," he said.

Malak Abdul Qadir, a displaced family member, says he lost 14 family members in the US air-strike and himself living in refuge with the widows and orphan children of his family members.

Category: US-NATO, Refugees/IDPs - Views: 7372