Nad Ali poised to embrace vote: official

LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): The Nad Ali district chief in southern Helmand province on Thursday said the security situation in his town had improved after a security operation that enabled security forces to protect polling stations and prevent poppy cultivation.
In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, Mohammad Ibrahim said residents of the district were no longer required to travel to the provincial capital, Lashkargah, for resolving their problems.
About security measures put in place for the April 5 elections, Ibrahim said there were 15 polling stations in Nad Ali and only one of them faced medium security threat. He said the voter registration drive in the district had been so far hitch-free.
About education, he said the education process had improved as 12 schools that had been previously closed due to insecurity were now operational and the number of students had increased from 8,000 to 119,000, including 3,500 girls, during the current academic year.
On agriculture and poppy cultivation, Ibrahim said farmers were distributed 50 plots of farmland for growing saffron as alternative crop to poppy. “Efforts are underway to encourage farmers into growing other crops instead of poppy.”
Meanwhile, a community council member, Wakil Gheyasuddin, said the main reason behind improved security was people’s cooperation with the government.
“The situation can further improve if the government provides jobs to the youth,” he said, adding some remote areas in Nad Ali remained unstable, where poppy cultivation was also common.