A report published by the Voice of America (VOA) reveals that the loyalists of the Islamic State (IS) who have named Afghanistan and Pakistan region as the province of Khorasan are involved in timber smuggling.
Local officials and tribal elders in the eastern region of the country have told VOA that the terrorist group has imported tree-cutting machines to their areas.
Armed men associating themselves with IS-Khorasan or Daesh have been seen in Achin, Naziyan and Dehbala districts of eastern Nangarhar province cutting trees with the imported machines for smuggling to Pakistan.
Local residents have been cited by VOA as saying that timber-loaded trucks are sent to Pakistan daily. Some of the timber is sold in local markets in Afghanistan.
“Smuggling takes place … in areas alongside the Durand Line,” Malak Hashem, a tribal elder in Naziyan, told VOA, referring to the Afghan-Pakistan border.
Tribal leaders say the Afghan government is turning a blind eye to the smuggling.
“The government has done nothing in this regard,” Malak Afsar, a tribal elder in Achin, told VOA. He added that timber is transported to market by locals who work as middlemen for IS.
A spokesman for the provincial government said the cutting of trees has not been raised with local government.
However, the acting director of Nangarhar’s agriculture directorate said he has heard the reports, but says the tree cutting continues only in one district.
“Dehbala is the only district where the tree cutting is still going on, and we are communicating with local elders in the district to stop it,” said the director, who goes by the name Engineer Shakir.