Following withering criticism from public on social media, Afghan government banned deforestation and logging two months ago and now, the Directorate of Agriculture of Kunar province has established local committees to preserve forests.
Kunar is one of the provinces in Afghanistan where natural forests grow – instability has undermined government’s control over forests and local people cut trees.
“We do not have any other source of income and that is why we cut trees for living” a local resident Mojiburahman told Kabul Monitor.
The agriculture administration in Kunar has approached tribes and has sought their assistance in creating local forests preservation committees.
Speaking with Kabul Monitor, the Agriculture Director of the province Enamullah Safi said the committees were established in Manogai, Asmar, Sigai, Watapor and Dangam districts of Kunar province which have officially accepted responsibility to protect jungles and prevent tree cutting.
The government is also making efforts to introduce alternative livelihood and have distributed thousands of saplings to address the issue.
Forests cover hundreds of thousands hectare land in Kunar which is a national treasure and we need people to cooperate with preserving them, Mr. Safi added.
Powerful people smuggle logs to Pakistan and local communities in Kunar cut trees for wood fuel and finished structural materials.
Two months ago, President Ghani tasked the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock to work with Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Commerce, the Independent Directorate of Local Governance and the National Environment Protection Agency and develop a solid forest preservation strategy that includes prevention of logs smuggling and logs utilization in wood industry of country as well as forests restoration based on the experience of other countries.