WASHINGTON - As U.S. and Afghan security forces battle Islamic State (IS) militants in Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province, thousands of families who fled their homes in the region say the provincial government has not provided assistance and their living conditions are dire.
More than 2,000 families from eastern Achin district have sought refuge in nearby districts after IS militants attempted to establish a stronger presence in the district's Mamand and Bandar valleys.
U.S. military and Afghan security forces have launched ground and air operations to oust IS fighters from the region.
The displaced families also include those who left the area before the U.S. Air Force dropped a Massive Ordinance Air Bomb (MOAB), informally known as "the mother of all bombs," on an IS stronghold in Achin in April.
The displaced families say the provincial government has not provided assistance as they endure brutal summer conditions with temperatures rising well above 40 degrees C (104 degrees F).
“We need assistance, we need shelter. We have nothing,” Juma Khan, who fled Achin along with his family before the MOAB was dropped, told VOA's Afghan service. “We have not received any sort of assistance. No one cares about us.”
Many of the displaced families live in makeshift camps that lack basic facilities. Some, however, have received temporary accommodations from relatives and friends.
The provincial government, however, said many of the displaced families have received assistance and claims the assistance program will continue.
“Assistance has been provided to the displaced families from Mamand and Bandar valleys. Even some of them have received assistance multiple times,” Attaullah Khogyani, Nangarhar provincial government spokesperson, told VOA. “Some families may not have received assistance yet, but we are trying to identify and help them.”
The IS terror group has been active in several districts in Nangarhar, as well as in nearby Kunar and Nuristan provinces.
Militants have allegedly stormed villages and government facilities repeatedly. Hundreds of people have been killed and abducted in IS attacks, according to reports. The group also has set homes and markets on fire and destroyed local schools, officials said.
IS actions have caused tens of thousands of people in several districts of Nangarhar to flee their homes during the past two years. Afghan and U.S. forces have launched operations against IS militants and said many areas have been cleared of militants.
U.S military forces and the Afghan government have promised to eliminate IS from Afghanistan by the end of 2017.