Portion Of Kol-E-Hasmat Khan Lake's Land Illegally Seized, Birds Secretly Hunted: Sources


(MENAFN- Khaama Press) Written By: Jalil Poya

Zalmay, a resident of the Kol-e Hashmat Khan area, who is 70 years old, says he spent his childhood there. He recalls the freshness, vitality, and vastness that Koh-e Hashmat Khan had in the past. Especially when the former Zahir Shah, king of Afghanistan, used to come to this lake for recreation and hunting.

Environmental experts and residents of the Kol-e Hashmat Khan area in Kabul say that a significant portion of the lake's area has been encroached upon, and this trend is still ongoing. Despite being declared a protected area, clandestine bird hunting continues in this lake, according to the locals.

Kol-e Hashmat Khan Lake was declared the fourth national park and protected area in the country in Jowza April-May 2017, and officials at the time, while signing a memorandum, also announced the preparation of a ten-year conservation plan for this lake.

A protected environmental area is a designated area of natural resources such as forests, etc., which is protected and preserved for the necessity of animal conservation and reproduction, and in which unauthorized logging, destruction, and hunting are prohibited.

According to reports, during different periods in history, this lake, which has more water in late winter and spring, was a hunting ground for kings, and after that, it was declared a sanctuary for waterfowl in the year 1350.

Zalmay, a resident of the Kol-e Hashmat Khan area who is 70 years old, recalls spending his childhood there. He remembers the freshness and vitality that Koh-e Hashmat Khan had in the past. Especially when the former king, Shah of Afghanistan, used to come to this lake for recreation and hunting.

This resident of Kol-e Hashmat Khan remembers a time when none of the houses or buildings around this blue lake existed, and its surroundings were either covered with reeds or used for cultivation and agriculture.

Zalmay told Khaama Press,“Previously, none of these houses (referring to houses built around Koh-e Hashmat Khan) existed. They used to cultivate wheat and barley. Now the whole place is filled with houses... We used to see the king coming for duck hunting.”

This lake used to be a habitat for thousands of birds, especially migratory birds, for some time, but wars and the expansion of construction around it have damaged the habitat, reduced its area, and drought has depleted its water.

According to environmental experts, in the past, Kol-e Hashmat Khan had more than 190 species of birds during the year.

Najibullah Sadeed, an expert in water and environmental studies, speaking to Khaama Press, said,“Unfortunately, due to wars and instability, a significant portion of Koh-e Hashmat Khan's land has been usurped, and its water has been cut off.”

It is said that out of the 191 hectares of land that this lake had, about 10 hectares have been encroached upon, and this trend (land encroachment) has continued over the past 20 years.

According to reports, Kol-e Hashmat Khan, which covers 191 hectares and is located in the southwest of Kabul city, has had about ten hectares of its area encroached upon, and this trend has continued over the past 20 years.

According to Najibullah Sadeed, an expert in water and environmental studies,“Koh-e Hashmat Khan used to be a habitat for about 191 species of native and migratory birds that traveled from the Caucasus to India and vice versa during the year.”

This year's spring rains have revived Koh-e Hashmat Khan, and now this natural beauty has once again become a refuge for birds. Despite bird hunting in this blue lake being illegal, people say that clandestine hunting continues in this area.

Rahmatullah, one of the residents of the Kol-e Hashmat Khan area, says,“In past years, due to drought, a lot of water did not enter Koh-e Hashmat Khan. But this year, there was plenty of rain and plenty of water. You see that migratory birds have also come, and some people hunt clandestinely. Hunting is prohibited, and no one can openly hunt.”

According to environmental experts, although Kol-e Hashmat Khan has been declared a protected area, practically no action has been taken to revive it.

However, the head of the Natural Heritage Preservation Department of the Environmental Protection Agency says that Kol-e Hashmat Khan is one of the protected areas that are full of water in two seasons, playing a role in replenishing Kabul's groundwater and providing a habitat for migratory birds and their nesting sites.

Hamid Safi, the head of the Natural Heritage Preservation Department of the Environmental Protection Agency, speaking to Khaama Press, said,“Kol-e Hashmat Khan has a management plan prepared by the Environmental Protection Agency and is being adapted by other relevant departments of the Ministry of Agriculture.”

According to Mr. Safi, there is also an organizational structure in the form of an organizational decree for Kol-e Hashmat Khan that is active in managing this protected area.

Despite all this, according to the experts, Kol-e Hashmat Khan is Kabul's history and must be revived to bring that history back to life. Because, according to them, by reviving this lake, many goals will be achieved, including the return of life and vitality to this area, as well as the nourishment of a part of Kabul's groundwater.

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