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Islamic State Smuggling Timber in Afghanistan


Afghan men pull their carts pass roadside timber stalls in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, June 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

Afghan men pull their carts pass roadside timber stalls in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, June 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)


Afghan tribal leaders said that the “government has done nothing” to stop the Islamic State terror group from smuggling timber to Pakistan.

Residents of eastern Afghan provinces said the terror group has brought tree-cutting machines to the Nangahar province. They said trucks with timber are sent to Pakistan every day. Some of the timber is also sold in the provinces.

Malak Afsar is a tribal leader in Achin. He said locals, working as middlemen, transported the timber for the IS terror group. He added, "The government has done nothing in this regard."

A provincial spokesman said the issue of tree cutting has not been raised with the government. But an acting agricultural director has heard reports of tree cutting.

The acting director, known as Engineer Shakir, said, "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."

Tree cutting (and timber harvesting) is against the law in Afghanistan. The country’s environmental protection agency says forests cover only two percent of the country. And the U.N. Environmental Program says forest cover has decreased by about 50 percent over the past three decades as timber smuggling has continued.

In addition to profits from the sale of smuggling timber, residents said the IS terror group also recruited locals to join the group.

I'm Anne Ball.

Zia-U-Rahman Hasrat reported this story for VOANews.com. Jim Dresbach adapted this story for Learning English.

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Words in This Story

smuggling – v. to move something from one country into another illegally and secretly

lumber – n. wooden boards or logs that have been sawed and cut for use

timber – n. trees that are grown in order to produce wood

middlemen – n. people that buy goods from a producer and sell them to someone else

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