CFC Weekly Sector Review - Afghanistan _10-Mar-10_

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CFC Weekly Sector Review - Afghanistan _10-Mar-10_ Powered By Docstoc

                                                                                                10 March 2010

                                 A FGHANISTAN R EVIEW
    Inside This Issue
    Economic Stabilization
    Governance & Participation     This document is intended to provide an overview of relevant sector
    Humanitarian Assistance
                                   events in Afghanistan from 03 March - 09 March 2010. More
                                   comprehensive information is available on the Civil-Military Overview
    Infrastructure                 (CMO) at Hyperlinks to original source material
    Justice & Reconciliation       are highlighted in blue and underlined in the embedded text.
    Social Well-Being

Matthew Hall, / +1 757-683-5273                                             Back to top

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghani-            was due to lower prices in Brazil, a major exporter
stan (UNAMA) announced that as a result of a World           of sugar to Afghanistan.
Bank-funded Horticulture and Development Program
worth USD 50 million, productivity in the Khulm dis-         Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reports that the Pesha-
trict of Balkh province has increased by an estimated        war Development Authority (PDA) has announced it
70%. More than 36,000 farmers in the district have           will begin collecting a toll tax next month on heavy
benefitted from the programme, while 10,000 addi-            vehicles bound for Afghanistan via the Pakistan
tional hectares are being farmed. The five-year pro-         Ring Road, which bypasses Peshawar. According to
gramme, which will end in 2011, provides farmers             a PDA official, the toll for double-axle vehicles will
with technical training on gardening and covers the          be PKR 300 (approx. USD 3.50) and PKR 100
provinces of Parwan, Kapisa, Kabul, Panjshir, Bagh-          (approx. USD 1.20) for single-axle vehicles. The
lan, Takhar, Kunduz, Samangan, Balkh, Jowzjan,               revenue raised by the toll will be used for mainte-
and Sar-e Pul.                                               nance of the road and for the construction of the
                                                             second phase. In a related news item, the Afghan
In Kabul, commodity prices over the last week were           Chamber of Commerce claims that 50% of Pakistani
mostly static, according to Pajhwok Afghan News.             products are exported illegally through the country’s
While the price of sugar decreased and the price of          main border with Afghanistan, as aired by Afghani-
gold increased, other commodities remained stable.           stan’s Radio Arman FM. (Comments? Click here)
According to the article, the rise in gold was a func-
tion of the global market, while the drop in sugar                 C LICK H ERE F OR D ISCUSSION B OARD

Ann-Kristin Otto, / +1 757-683-4368                                     Back to top

Presidential spokesman Wahid Omar announced that             the lack of information being provided to the Wolesi
the remaining candidates for ministerial posts will be       Jirga from the Afghan government. No exact date
introduced to parliament shortly, local Noor TV re-          has been set for the introduction of the remaining
ports. During a press conference in Kabul, Omar re-          eleven ministerial candidates. A broadcast by Tolo
sponded to criticism raised by the speaker of the            TV conveyed that Omar avoided specifying whether
Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament)                     candidates who did not receive sufficient votes from
Mohammad Yunis Qanuni, who complained about                  parliament in earlier rounds would be reintroduced.

The Afghan Ministry of Information and Culture has            ban and its limitations on press freedoms. The or-
rejected the ban on media reports covering terrorist          ganisation Reporters Without Borders publicly urged
attacks introduced by the National Directorate of             the Afghan government to reverse the ban arguing
Security (NDS) last week, claiming the ban is not in          it was “the public’s right to be informed about on-
line with the constitution or media law, and had not          going operations.”
been discussed with the ministry. Tolo TV reports
that Minister of Information and Culture Makhdoom             Suraya Pakzad, Director of the organisation Voice of
Raheen announced that his ministry has set up a               Women, told members of the US Congress that
committee to determine the fields of responsibility of        many female lawmakers in Afghanistan are under
all parties concerned. Conversely, Minister of Interior       the influence of local warlords and cannot act as
Hanif Atmar defended the ban before the Wolesi                independent Members of Parliament (MPs). Accord-
Jirga, as relayed by Shamshad TV. The ban has                 ing to a report by AFP, Pakzad complained about
been met with broad criticism from national and in-           the low quality of female MPs in Kabul, saying that
ternational actors, including the Taliban, who re-            ten women with strong voices in parliament would
leased a press statement condemning it as infringing          be better than the constitutionally required 68 fe-
on freedom of speech. According to Tolo TV, UNAMA             male MPs who often act as proxies for warlords.
officials, US Special Representative for Afghanistan          (Comments? Click here)
and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke, Afghan lawyers and
the Afghan media have expressed concern over the                    C LICK H ERE F OR D ISCUSSION B OARD

Valeria Davanzo, / +1 757-683-4271                                        Back to top

Director of the Afghanistan National Disaster Man-            be planted by the Taliban. The ICRC told Quqnoos
agement Authority (ANDMA) Abdul Matin Edrak ex-               that the bombs have made it impossible to evacu-
pressed concern to IRIN News about the possibility            ate the sick and wounded from the Marjah area,
of severe seasonal floods as a result of unseasonably         and have interrupted the delivery of health services.
warm weather. Edrak said that while the country is            In addition to posing a threat to residents, the pres-
prone to flooding, it has limited resources for disas-        ence of improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) has
ter management and mitigation, and typically relies           prevented the return of the population who fled
on the UN, NGOs and NATO support. The UN Office               ahead of Operation Moshtarak. The ICRC de-
for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)           nounced the use of IEDs, saying their use is against
stated that natural disasters affect around 400,000           the most basic principles of international humanitar-
Afghans every year. The article states, flash flooding        ian law.
destroys agricultural land, plantations and livestock,
directly affecting the income of rural populations.           President Hamid Karzai visited Helmand province
IRIN reports that the Afghan government has been              this week, accompanied by the Afghan Ministers of
accused by some Members of Parliament (MPs) of                Defence and Interior, and the Commander of US
failing to protect these populations through the crea-        and NATO forces in Afghanistan General Stanley
tion of an effective disaster management institution.         McChrystal. Karzai met with elders in Marjah, the
Meanwhile, a Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and          town recently seized from the Taliban during Opera-
Livestock (MAIL) spokesman has called for long-term           tion Moshtarak. According to National TV Afghani-
flood resistance and alleviation remedies to be insti-        stan, the President explained that the government's
tuted to limit overall damages. On 03 March, Second           main task in Marjah is to prove to residents that it
Vice President Karim Khalili led an emergency com-            can provide them with a better life than the Taliban.
mission meeting to discuss ways to reduce the im-             After listening to the elders’ complaints, Karzai
pact of floods.                                               promised to provide aid, ensure reconstruction and
                                                              open/reopen schools. (Comments? Click here)
According to Quqnoos, the International Committee
of the Red Cross (ICRC) reported the presence of                    C LICK H ERE F OR D ISCUSSION B OARD
improvised mines in Helmand province, thought to

Matthew Hall, / +1 757-683-5273                                             Back to top

Uzbek Minister of Railways Rachmatov Achalbai in-             Sharif railway and urged the Uzbek-contracted engi-
spected the construction of the Hairatan-Mazar-e              neers to complete the USD 129 million project

within the allotted 12-month timeline, according to           bridges as other required projects.
Aina TV of Kabul. Minister Achalbai also reportedly
met with a number of Hairatan Port officials to dis-          Several news items released by Pajhwok concerned
cuss the friendship and cultural ties between the two         completed uplift schemes throughout Afghanistan.
nations.                                                      A power transformer was installed east of Kabul,
                                                              which will provide 32,000 families with electricity,
Radio Sada-e Azadi of Afghanistan reports that a              bringing the number of Kabul residents with elec-
new international runway was inaugurated at Mazar-            tricity to 70%, according to acting Minister of En-
e Sharif airport to enable international flights. The         ergy and Water Ismail Khan. In Herat, two new
runway was funded by Germany and took 14                      roads leading to the Herat airport were opened. The
months to complete. According to German Com-                  roads were built by the Italian PRT at a cost of USD
mander Frank Leidenberger, preparations are also              40,000. Six uplift schemes were also completed in
being made for the construction of a EUR 40 million           Baghlan province. The projects cost AFN 4.26 mil-
terminal, with additional funding from Saudi Arabia.          lion (approx. USD 90,000) and will benefit 1,300
                                                              families in the Khost, Farang, Baghlan Jadeed,
The South Korean Provincial Reconstruction Team               Baghlan Kohna and Andarab districts. In the same
(PRT) is considering building a power plant in Par-           article, Pajhwok announced that a USD 90,000 girls'
wan province beginning in July 2010, according to             school was opened in the Angarad district. Similarly,
the South Korean Yonhap News Agency. The PRT                  two school buildings were constructed in the Ko-
will be dispatched in July, along with 320 troops. An         hband district of Kapisa province. One school cost
anonymous South Korean official identified electrifi-         AFN 4 million (approx. USD 85,000) while the other
cation as the biggest priority in Afghanistan and esti-       cost USD 38,000, with funding provided by the
mated the cost of the project to be tens of millions          Hungarian PRT. In Nimroz province, a USD 22,000
of dollars.                                                   madrassa with the capacity to hold 1,500 students
                                                              was completed. In addition, USD 1.9 million worth
According to Pajhwok Afghan News, Mayor of Kabul              of reconstruction projects were launched in Nan-
Mohammad Yunos Nawandesh has complained of                    garhar, Laghman and Nuristan provinces. These
severe lack of funding for reconstruction projects.           nine initiatives include a variety of construction pro-
According to Nawandesh, the lack of funding is pre-           jects. (Comments? Click here)
venting the launch of a USD 1 billion water-channel
project in the capital city. The Mayor also mentioned               C LICK H ERE F OR D ISCUSSION B OARD
the construction of asphalt roads, parking lots and

Ann-Kristin Otto, / +1 757-683-4368                                       Back to top

Pajhwok Afghan News reports that the peace and Networks (IRIN), on the occasion of International
reconciliation Jirga planned, in line with the most Women’s Day on 08 March, deplores the condition of
recent Afghan government reconciliation initiative,       women’s rights in Afghanistan and argues that am-
will be held on 29 April. According to Minister of        bivalence, impunity, weak law enforcement and cor-
Education Ghulam Farooq Wardak, who heads the             ruption continue to hamper progress. Quoting a UN
commission responsible for the organisation of the        Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) report on
gathering, approximately 1,370 people will be in-         violence against women, the article states that
vited. Speaking before parliament, Wardak said the        women who seek justice for crimes committed
three-day event would be held in Kabul to serve as        against them risk further violence. In addition, the
an advisory assembly on how to move forward with          report states that because few perpetrators are put
insurgent negotiations. The Associated Press (AP)         on trial for their crimes, a criminal culture is being
writes that an action plan on reconciliation with the     promoted in the country. Despite existing laws
armed opposition will be drafted at the Jirga, and        against gender based violence, discrimination and
that President Karzai is finalising his plan offering     abuse continue to be widespread. A new database
jobs, vocational training and other economic incen-       run by the Afghan Ministry of Women’s Affairs
tives to insurgents willing to lay down their arms.       (MOWA) and the United Nations Development Fund
Speaking at a press conference in Kabul, Karzai           for Women (UNIFEM) records cases of violence
said the aim of the Jirga was to receive guidance         against women and includes more than 1,900 cases
from the Afghan people on how to move forward             in 26 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. According to
on reintegration and reconciliation.                      UNAMA, a press briefing discussing the Law on Elimi-
                                                          nation of Violence against Women was organised in
An article from the Integrated Regional Information       Kunduz province. In the briefing, the Kunduz Chief

Prosecutor, the Head of the Afghan Independent               ing legal rights for women. (Comments? Click
Human Rights Commission and the Head of the De-              here)
partment of Women’s Affairs briefed media on the
contents of the law, raising awareness and promot-                 C LICK H ERE F OR D ISCUSSION B OARD

Leendert Nijssen, /+1 757-683-4302                                      Back to top

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown paid an unex-            According to the article, the Taliban claimed respon-
pected visit to British troops in Camp Bastion in Hel-       sibility for the blast in Khost, reporting that the
mand province, according to the Associated Press             bomber had infiltrated the police ranks.
(AP). During his visit, Brown toured a police training
centre in the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah, as          Afghan President Hamid Karzai has visited the city
well as several former Taliban bases seized by the           of Marjah, his first trip to the area since he took
Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and Interna-          office as president in late 2001. Travelling with Kar-
tional Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops as part       zai, General Stanley McChrystal said afterwards that
of Operation Moshtarak. Brown told the troops that           the international community is trying to help Af-
he will do everything in his power to support their          ghanistan shape their country, and he believes he
efforts through the provision of necessary equipment         has seen a part of it in Marjah. According to AFP,
and resources. He explained that 200 new British-            McChrystal also announced that ISAF forces and the
built patrol vehicles will be shipped to Afghanistan         ANSF plan to focus on Taliban strongholds in Kan-
by late 2011. These vehicles are expected to provide         dahar province this upcoming summer, when
much more protection for the troops and will replace         enough reinforcements are on the ground. Accord-
the Snatch Land Rovers, currently blamed for many            ing to McChrystal “there won’t be a D-Day that is
of the deaths caused by roadside bombs.                      climatic; it will be a rising tide of security as it
                                                             comes.” This operation, following Moshatarak, is
According to a Reuters publication, a suicide attack         part of the overarching Operation Omid, which will
inside an Afghan police base in Paktika province             run at least until the middle of 2011. (Comments?
wounded nine police officers on 10 March. The US             Click here)
military also reported that in Khost province, a com-
pound hosting the Afghan border police and ISAF                    C LICK H ERE F OR D ISCUSSION B OARD
troops was attacked by a suicide bomber killing two.

Valeria Davanzo, /+1 757-683-4271                                       Back to top

International Women’s Day was celebrated through-            the first round of the vaccination campaign due to
out Afghanistan on 08 March in a number of differ-           ongoing operations in the area.
ent ways. The slogan for this year’s celebration was
“Equal Opportunities, Better Life for Everyone.” Rep-        The Associated Press reports that some mullahs in
resentatives of women’s associations used the occa-          Afghanistan are promoting birth control. According
sion to urge the international community and the             to the wire, a number of religious leaders have
Afghan government to focus their efforts on provid-          been distributing condoms, while others are using
ing equal opportunities for women in employment              the Koran to promote longer breaks between preg-
and education, in addition to offering economic and          nancies. The article cites United Nations Children’s
political integration, particularly inclusion in peace       Fund (UNICEF) estimates that suggest only 10% of
negotiations. Despite the fact that today women are          Afghan women are using some form of birth con-
present in virtually every aspect of Afghan life, ac-        trol. However, it has been demonstrated by the
cording to CNN, there are still many areas of                World Health Organization (WHO) that as a result of
women’s lives that require improvement.                      an awareness campaign that involved one-on-one
                                                             meetings where health workers individually ap-
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) has announced           proached the population and explained the benefits
that a three-day anti-polio drive will take place in         of family planning, the use of pills, condoms and
Marjah beginning 16 March, reports Pajhwok Afghan            injected forms of birth control has risen to 27%
News. The district was skipped last month during             over an eight month period in three rural areas of

Afghanistan. Marie Stopes International, a British-       torching and shutting down schools. According to
based family planning organisation in Kabul, em-          Pajhwok, the Minister of Education noted that five
phasises that many Afghan mullahs are open to             million children in Afghanistan are deprived of educa-
promoting birth control and are closely collaborat-       tion, with 443 schools currently closed for security
ing with health authorities and health-related NGOs       reasons.
to encourage its use.
                                                          Afghan boxers have won five gold medals at the
Pajhwok reports that at a ceremony marking the            Asian Full Contact Kickboxing Championship held in
start of the new academic year, with the slogan           India, as reported by Pajhwok. The head of the Na-
“Teacher’s Capacity Building, Training and Raising        tional Olympic Committee told Pajhwok that the gold
their Living Standards,” President Karzai praised the     medal winners will receive a reward of AFN 100,000
progress made in the education sector, while calling      (approx. USD 2,000). (Comments? Click here)
for continuous efforts to be made. Karzai stated
that depriving children of education was unaccept-                C LICK H ERE F OR D ISCUSSION B OARD
able in any nation, and blamed the Taliban for

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