Taliban Build Fully-Fledged Housing Estate in Afghanistan
Hafiz Hamdullah, a member of the Taliban Council in Takhar Province told Fergana News that the residential area, or town, as the locals call it, was named "Omari" in order to honor the late Taliban leader Mullah Omar.
The houses have mostly three stories. The ground floor is used for offices and traders’s shops. The finished residential complex covers an area of 7.4 acres but, according to Hafiz Hamdullah, the Council allocated 400 more parcels of land around it, 500 square meters each. Anyone can buy that land and build a house there - single-storied houses for a family of eight to ten people. The Council plans to build other residential properties near the already existing "town" in due course.
Taliban spokesman Zabiulla Mujahid confirmed reports about the new neighborhood in Takhar. "The local Taliban Council in the province of Takhar has built the Omari housing and commercial complex in the area of Darqad at the insistence of the local population. Residents who buy a house, shop or plot there can open a commercial business and invest. Meanwhile, our fighters, who are in the province of Takhar, are ensuring the safety of businesses and people. Construction of the town began in June 2017. With the first stage of the project completed recently, the sale of shops, houses and parcels has already begun. The prices are defined by the Taliban Council in the province", Mujahid said.
The administration of Takhar Province also confirmed that the Taliban had built a residential and commercial complex “in the Shor-Arab area of Darqad District, where people have already settled. According to our data, while there are about twenty shops built, the construction of trade outlets is continuing", one of the provincial police chiefs, General Khalil Asir, said. He moreover pointed out that Taliban are forcing residents to buy houses or shops and work there.
In turn, a resident of Darqad District, Haji Afzal, claims that Taliban are not forcing anyone to buy property. "This is simply not needed because the terms of the sale are quite profitable. There are security guarantees and, most importantly good prospects for trade - after all, Darqad has an advantageous geography near the border with Tajikistan, in the triangle between Kurgan-Tube (now Bokhtar - note by Fergana News) and Kulyab. Therefore, many people have bought or are going to buy shops there", the source stressed.
Another resident, Tahar Muhammad Hasan, said that he had already bought a store in this complex for 25 thousand afghanis ($360).
Reportedly, Afghan construction companies participated in the construction of the complex. They mostly worked on the complex for free so as to advertise a project they expect to expand. Residents also helped in the construction so that prices for the purchase of housing in the estate were also available for less wealthy Afghans.
The fact that the Taliban, who are outlawed and at war with both the government and the Islamic State (banned terrorist organization), was able to build a home-shopping complex on its own, made a deep impression both on residents and on the province’s authorities, our Fergana News correspondent reports. The local population is sure that the Taliban Council will re-invest profits from the complex into the development and enlargement of this estate.