Afghans in war-scarred village struggle to rebuild homes

DailyTimes  |  Dec 05, 2021

In the ruins of an Afghan village destroyed by years of war, a deepening economic crisis has left Javid with little hope of rebuilding his home.

For years, the strategically located Arzo, which lies along a main road entering the central city of Ghazni, was a battlefield.

Taliban insurgents fought government forces at five military outposts in and around the tiny village, often using civilian houses as staging posts.

“There was firing day and night and our house was in the middle,” the 31-year-old Javid tells AFP.

He points to the tunnel the Taliban dug inside his ruined home this year to attack one of the army posts.

Javid and his family are still sheltering with relatives in another village until they can find enough money to rebuild their home. He has nothing left, having already borrowed 160,000 Afghanis ($1,680) to revive his small shop.

“We need help from NGOs and the government, or my family can’t come back,” Javid says. After more than a year of relentless fighting, the last inhabitants fled Arzo in June.

Two months later, Afghanistan fell to the Taliban and an economic crisis ensued with the international community largely freezing funding to the aid-dependent nation. On top of that hardship, a devastating drought has sparked warnings of serious food shortages and a humanitarian disaster.

Rural areas such as Arzo bore the brunt of the two-decade conflict that saw Taliban insurgents face US, NATO and Afghan forces, with civilian casualties inflicted by both sides.

Families are slowly returning to the rubble of Arzo to try and rebuild.

Arzo villager Lailuma, 55, lost her daughter in the crossfire between Afghan forces and the insurgents.

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