Afghan warlords pressure local officials to legalize land-grab

Warlords are using threats to pressure municipal officials to fraudulently prepare ownership documents for the lands that they have already grabbed in Afghanistan’s northern Baghlan province, a local mayor said this week. Dozens of acres of land had been grabbed in Pul-i-Khumri by the strongmen, who are forcing municipal officials to give them ownership documents, Sahib Nazar Sangin told the local Pajhwok Afghan News. Employees of the land records department have been beaten up several times on order of the warlords, who have fighters and weapons at their disposal, the mayor complained. He added a retired general of the interior ministry, known as Habib, was among those who had seized the municipality’s land in the Silo area, and is now using his influence and force to get documents. “Recently, the commander insulted me in my office for refusing to prepare documents for him,” Sangin said.

Baghlan Gov. Abdul Majeed said Pul-i-Khumri municipal staff have yet to lodge a formal complaint about the problem. Gen. Habib said if the government or any of its departments had a case against him, they could move courts to substantiate their claims. (PAN via RAWA, Oct. 4)

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