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Xinhua, October 5, 2010

War renders displacement, miseries to Afghans

More than 900 families are said to have left their houses for safer places in and around Kandahar city and mostly used to live with relatives or in slum areas

By Shoaib, Abdul Haleem

KANDAHAR - "Like the past decades, war once again forced me to leave everything behind and migrate to safer place in Kandahar city," Hamidullah, a 22-year- old from Arghandab district, whispered.

children_idp_kabul.jpg
Afghan children internally displaced by war play outside their tent in Kabul October 5, 2010. (Photo: REUTERS/Omar Sobhani)

Hamidullah, who like many Afghans used only one name is one of hundreds of war-weary villagers who left his home in Arghandab, southern Kandahar province, last month following military operation against Taliban insurgents to escape the war.

"The time for launching operation was not ripe as we could not collect and sell our pomegranates properly,"the dejected Hamidullah lamented.

A joint operation of Afghan and NATO-led forces have been continuing in Arghandab and the adjoining Jalai and Panjwai districts over the past one month with objective to wipe out Taliban insurgents and stabilize security there.

Scores of suspected Taliban fighters, according to officials, have been killed, injured and detained since launching operation there.

Hamidullah is not alone who has left his village to escape the battle between security forces and the Taliban militants.

More than 900 families are said to have left their houses for safer places in and around Kandahar city and mostly used to live with relatives or in slum areas.

A lady who declined to be named and lives in a slum room in Juni area of Kandahar city also said that she left her home after losing her two sons during operation in Arghandab district last month.

So far, 650 families have left their houses in Arghandab district to escape the war," head of Refugees Department in provincial capital Kandahar city Mohammad Azim Nawabi told Xinhua.

Some 300 more families have fled the war in Jalai district and several other families from Panjwai have left for safer places to escape the war, the official further said.

"Clashes between soldiers and Taliban have taken everything from us. My only income was pomegranates, collected from my garden in Arghandab but endemic war had forced me to leave empty hand and since then I am running a misery life in a corner of Kandahar city, " 62-year-old Fazal Bari commented.

Wandering aimlessly on a street in Kandahar city, the depressed Bari said he has no house and no tent to spend night there.

"My pomegranate garden was everything for me but has been shattered," the hapless Bari said.

"I sold about 100,000 Afghanis (some 2000 U.S. dollars) pomegranate once last year when the environment was peaceful," he recalled.

Kandahar, the birthplace of Taliban militants and their former stronghold has been regarding as the hotbed of the insurgency over the past couple of years.

To expand influence and consolidate their positions, the militants often attack government interests including security personnel and soft targets such as local officials and pro- government social figures and tribal elders.

The operations Dragon Strike and Hamkari or Partnership, covering Arghandab, Jalai and Panjwai districts and adjacent areas have been going on since last month aimed at improving security situation there.

The ongoing operations, according to officials are different from the previous ones as presently parallel to military onslaught, development projects and efforts for bringing good governance is continuing there.

Kandahar, the second Afghan largest city, is famous for its pomegranate orchards and vineyards. The residents of Kandahar, like other war-weary Afghans are relying on grain produced in farmlands and fruits grown on their gardens.

"Fear of bloody conflicts, bombardments, casualties and destruction have forced me to leave home in Jalai and take shelter to Kandahar city," a resident of Jalai district Abdullah Khan, 53 told Xinhua.

"Although, I have left everything behind, thanks God Almighty that I along with all my family members are alive, no matter if live in misery," Khan said softly.

Although, the exact number of those left their houses for safer places to escape the battle is not known, an Afghan family usually made up of six to eight persons.

"We are trying our best to provide food assistance to the displaced people as much as possible but majority of them particularly women and children are suffering from homelessness, according to our survey," Nawabi the head of Refugees Department in Kandahar stated.

Category: US-NATO, HR Violations, Refugees/IDPs - Views: 8143