The Sorkhab village in Mohammad Agha district in Logar province – 30 kilometers south of Kabul – in which President Ashraf Ghani’s ancestral home is located, has been under Taliban influence for years but now it is controlled by the Afghan forces.
Ghani’s family owns thousands of acres of lands in the village and local residents say that they had paid taxes to the Taliban from Ghani’s property for “many years”.
Ghani’s grandfather was living in a small village known as Ali Shah which is only few meters away from Sorkhab village where Ghani spent his childhood.
During the visit, TOLOnews’ reporters met an old man who is taking care of Ghani’s land and property for the past 20 years. However, the man refused to be named due to security reasons. He said that during this period, he was in contact with Ghani’s relatives and his cousins.
“They (Taliban) collected ‘usher’ (a 10 percent tax on certain harvest) from the lands. The president is also aware of it, including his onlooker,” said the man.
Many parts of Ghani’s house have remained in their original shape and have not been renovated over the years.
Ehsan, member of Mohammad Agha district provincial council, who accompanied TOLOnews reporters during the visit, said the area saw some of the lengthy waves of conflicts and violence.
“Currently, those elders who are leading Logar province, but I cannot name them, are not living a comfortable life. But I want to tell the security forces that there is enemy activities in entire Logar,” he said.
“In the past when the caravans of the army were coming here, they were carrying two or three destroyed tanks, because they were crushing with mines. Taliban were making movements in this village and its surrounding areas President Ghani’s grandfather has been buried,” said Shawkat, a commander of Public Uprising Forces in Logar.
Residents of the district said that Ghani’s family own thousands of acres of land in five villages of Sorkhab and some of them have been left uncultivated.
“I told the Taliban that you know calculation, come and lets calculate. What can I earn from these dried lands to give to you,” said Hazrat Khan, 50, a local farmer in the area.
The Presidential Palace did not show interest to comment on the story, but the Taliban have said that they had control over Sorkhab village for years and that collected “urshr” even from Ghani’s lands.