Kuchi Land-Grabbers Speed Up Construction Works on Hazara Settlements in Ghazni’s Jaghatu District

Pashtun Nomads (Kuchis) in Jaghatu district, Ghazni province have accelerated the construction of residential houses in settlements under dispute. This settlement is located in the “Pushte Faqirshah” area, Sarab village, Jaghatu district. Local sources claimed that the sedentary population’s pasture lands have been usurped by nomads thanks to the Taliban’s support. Although locals have asked high-ranking Taliban officials in Ghazni and Kabul to stop the construction works in this vicinity, according to them, no one has paid attention to their call.

Based on the findings of Hasht-e Subh, usurping lands by nomads in this settlement started about six months ago. At that time, with the direct support of the Taliban, the Kuchis have demarcated about 10 acres of land. However, in response to the protest of locals, Taliban officials have said that a military camp is going to be built in this area. Locals emphasized that the construction of residential houses is going on in this area now, and the nomads have usurped several acres of more lands.

Sources explained that locals asked the nomads to stop the construction work as this settlement is the property and pasture land of sedentary population and they also have a customary document in their hands, but the nomads have not paid attention to this petitions, claiming that this land is government owned and they have received permission from high-ranking officials of the Taliban to start the construction work. According to locals, this town is located in an important and strategic area of this district and the nomads are trying to take over their agricultural resources and control the commuting routes of several Hazara districts.

Mohammad Juma (pseudonym) is a resident of Jaghatu district, Ghazni province, who tried several times along with a group of local elders to raise the locals’ voices . “We shared our concerns twice with the Taliban in Ghazni city and once with the Ministry of Urban Development in Kabul,” he said. “With great difficulty, we were able to reach the Taliban authorities, but it did not give a positive result and the construction works did not stop.”

“First, they claimed a small area of around 10 acres,” he added. “When we protested, the Taliban came from the district and said that we are building a military camp. They also grabbed more lands. Now it is around 50 acres that the Kuchis claim ownership of.”

A source in Jaghatu district, who does not disclose his identity due to security concerns, told Hasht-e Subh that the Taliban distributed these lands to the survivors of the group’s fighters who were killed in these areas during the past several years. Locals point out that there are precious mines of lithium, marble and gypsum in the borders of Jaghatu and Nawur districts, adding that the Taliban have taken such action to gain full access to these mines and deprive the local people of these mines.

According to the information provided to Hasht-e Subh, the Taliban have already started extracting two mines in Nawur district, Ghazni province, in the last four months. Most of the people working in these two mines are close to the Taliban. Currently, marble mining is underway in Korala area and gypsum mining is underway in Gawmurda area, Nawur district. Residents of these districts emphasize that with the completion of the construction of the nomad settlement in the Pushte Faqirshah area and the relocation of the nomad and Taliban families in this place, the work of extracting other mines will also begin and the native people will be deprived of working in these mines.

“There is a lot of mines in Nawur,” Alireza, a resident of Nawur district who owns livestock, said. “Everything remains intact. The people of this district are very poor, they can only find bread for the day and night consumption with difficulty. The area is mountainous. Now this right should not be taken away from our people to start mining and other people come to work and the local people who are in hardship and problems just watch.”

The concern of the residents of Jaghatu and Nawur districts, Ghazni province has increased due to the usurpation of more lands by the nomads in these areas. According to reports, with the support of the Taliban, the nomads have taken over a large amount of agricultural land and several residential houses in Nawur district.