The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) said that it has established a military unit under the name of “Green Unit” to prevent deforestation in both crop-yielding forests--like pistachio trees-- and regular forests in the country.
The MAIL deputy minister said that the cabinet has approved the creation of this unit and they are working on its formation.
“We have plans that include the green unit, people’s associations, and increasing the number of employees--we will stop the cutting of not only pistachio trees but all the forests that we have in the country,” said Shamsuddin Shariati, MAIL deputy director for natural resources and irrigation.
Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry said that they are working to form the unit. “Such a unit is going to protect the forests of Afghanistan and prevent the cutting of forests and smuggling of wood outside the country,” said Saeed Khosti, spokesman for the Interior Ministry.
In the meantime, a number of Kunar and Balkh residents asked the Islamic Emirate to address the deforestation problem and to prevent the smuggling of timber abroad.
“We appreciate and support these efforts of the Islamic Emirate and we ask them to pay more attention to this area in order to prevent deforestation at all,” said Abdullah Sadat, a resident of Kunar.
According to the statistics of MAIL, pistachio yield has increased this year compared to last year.
Officials of the ministry said that many thousands of tons of pistachio nuts were exported abroad this year.
Currently, Herat, Badghis, Faryab, Balkh, Samangan, Jawzjan, Sar-e-Pul, Kunduz, Baghlan, Takhar and Badakhshan provinces produce the most pistachios in the country, and pistachios trees grow naturally in these provinces.