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Editorial: Wresting lands

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The wars upon wars have dispersed Afghans and destroyed infrastructure that was guaranteeing prosperity and development of the country. Hundreds of thousands of Afghans left their homeland to take shelter in a relatively peaceful country. Most of them went to Pakistan and Iran. Those who could afford the expenses of long journey went to Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia. Likewise, thousands of women, men and children lost their lives in the ceaseless wars—engineered by foreigners but fought by Afghans.

The last forty years are dark period of the Afghanistan’s history. The wars had not only taken the opportunity of tremendous growth in 1970s and 80s but also hope from Afghans when they were pushed into a series of deadly conflicts. Civil war in the country would always be remembered because it had shattered the national unity. No one would take responsibility for killings of their own brothers and destruction of own cities or selling military hardware to foreigners but there is no denying that the key figures in the resistance movement against the Soviet Union did nothing to prevent the civil war. They remained part of the problem rather than solution.

After fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, the hopes were high that the new batch of leaders would accelerate the process of development and bring together the broken pieces of national unity. The more responsibilities fell on shoulders of intellectuals, tribal elders, key government officials and lawmakers. They were supposed to help the government to build a strong foundation for the coming generations and a soft image of the country in the world.

Unfortunately, those who were supposed to rebuild the country are eating the social fabric and foundation of the modern Afghanistan to satiate their greed. Private and public lands were grabbed by members of the elite class on which the nation was pinning hopes. They resisted the efforts when the government tried to take back the usurped lands. Perhaps, the leaders were not so serious in their efforts because no one could stand against the power of a state.

Hopes are reforming now because the unity government has taken good steps to fight corruption and wrest back the grabbed state-owned lands from the usurpers. The drive, to take back the lands, was kicked off in Nangarhar province.

Many people will create hurdles to prevent the campaign from achieving the goals. However, the authorities should leave no stone unturned to get back the grabbed lands. Success of the drive will help in restoring public trust over the government which is need of the hour because the leaders had been too slow in addressing key issues.