The blaze in Kunar province started last Sunday and had consumed hundreds of hectares of forest, the report said. The fire was advancing rapidly through the Dara Pech valley, some 30 kilometres south of the provincial capital Asadabad.
"We do not have the resources to fight a fire of this scale," local Taleban administrator Sadar Azam told the news agency. Local people had been asked to try to contain the fire by felling trees and digging trenches.
Azam appealed to the United Nations to provide assistance to extinguish the fire that has displaced about 3,000 people and affected around 12 villages.
He said enmity between the two rival local tribes might be the reason behind the blaze.
Taleban commander said people from all over Kunar are heading towards Dara Pech to try to extinguish the fire. But he sounded pessimistic that the fire fighting attempts by the local people will succeed.
Timber from the Kunar forests is an important source of income for local people, and the lumber is also sold to Pakistan.
The forests in the bordering Pakistani district of Bajaur were considered safe because a river separates them from Kunar.
dpa ig vc
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Received by NewsEdge Insight: 06/19/1999 04:10:51
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