Once-green mountainsides across Afghanistan are still being stripped of their trees as the long-running process of deforestation continues.
The head of the agriculture department for Khost province in eastern Afghanistan, Dr Naqibullah, says that about half of the 1,300 square-kilometre area that was once covered in forests has been cleared over the last three decades.
This IWPR reporter visited Qalandar district, in the northern part of Khost, where loggers were hard at work with axes and chainsaws. They have parcelled out sections among themselves, and are steadily turning green woodland into arid desert.
Local people say they have no option but to cut down the forests, as they possess neither farmland nor any other means of earning an income.
Local government officials in Khost say they have taken some action and have at least manage to slow the pace of deforestation. Provincial police chief Abdul Qayoum Baqizoi denies allegations that his force has turned a blind eye to illegal logging.
Ahmad Shah is an IWPR-trained reporter in Khost province.