Afghanistan: Two people still missing after boat sinks in Nangarhar

Nangarhar, Afghanistan — Local Taliban officials in Nangarhar province reported that two passengers remain missing after a boat capsized in the Mohmand Dara district.

The incident occurred in the Mahala-e Basool area, resulting in the deaths of at least ten people, including five children and three women, and injuring 13 others.

Taliban’s deputy governor of Nangarhar stated that three of the injured children are in critical condition and remain hospitalized. Local officials attributed the tragedy to overloading and a technical malfunction of the boat.

In response to the incident, Taliban pledged to construct a cable bridge to facilitate safer river crossings. However, residents expressed skepticism, noting that similar promises have been made in the past without any follow-through.

The residents of Mohmand Dara and Goshta districts rely on small, dilapidated boats for commuting across the river, often risking overcrowding.

Survivors of the incident recounted the harrowing moments when the boat sank. “In the middle of the river, the boat shut down and then sank. All the women were taken away, some held on to the boat, and others were swept away by the water,” said one child survivor. Another survivor described holding on tightly to someone and swimming back to the boat after letting go of her veil.

Siddiqullah Qureshi, head of information and culture for the Taliban in Nangarhar, confirmed the rescue of 16 people, 11 of whom were injured, including six children. He stated that approximately 30 people were on board when the boat sank. So far, eight bodies have been recovered, and rescue operations continue to search for the missing passengers.

The lack of adequate transportation infrastructure in Nangarhar forces many residents to use unsafe boats for crossing the river. Despite promises from local Taliban officials to build a cable bridge, the community remains doubtful about the implementation of such plans.

As rescue operations continue, the affected families mourn the loss of their loved ones, with some victims already buried. The community calls for urgent and effective measures to prevent such tragedies in the future.