Afghanistan Weekly Update No. 197
The UNOCHA/UNDP delegation returned from Ashgabat, were it was warmly received by the Turkmen authorities and made the necessary preparations for the International Forum on Assistance to Afghanistan. Heavy fighting was reported from the frontline north of Kabul in Tageb valley, Mir Bachakot and Istalif as well as continuous fighting from Badghis province. Three UN staff abducted in Kabul, a UNHCR driver, a UNCHS chowkidar and a MCPA driver, together with his vehicle, were released. As part of the campaign to impose pure Islamic law the Taliban authorities banned paper bags and ordered the use of plastic bags instead. A number of civil servants were fired for being clean-shaven. All major roads to Kabul with the exception of the Salang highway are open for all kinds of traffic.
SCF-US received permission from the Ministry of Public Health for women to work in the medical field under the condition that female staff strictly observe Islamic veil (Hejab) and work separated from male staff. UNHCR received encouraging indications form the Taliban authorities that some of their female staff would be allowed to return to work.
KABUL: Mullah Muwazin, head of the religious police, told ACBAR that, contrary to the assurances given by Taliban ministers, women would be prohibited from working in public. However, Radio Shariat announced that women would be allowed to work as soon as the security situation in Kabul had improved. Mobile Taliban patrols were observed, following women in the street and beating those not wearing a burqa. A female international UNOCHA staff was not met by the Deputy Minister of Planning on the ground of being a woman.
HERAT: Radio Shariat announced that all bathhouses for women should be closed, only burqa wearing women would be allowed in the bazar and female patients could only be treated by female doctors.
JALALABAD: ERU received permission from the Governor and the Ministry of Public Health for the operation of 30 community health clinics which will employ some 180 women. Community health work undertaken by women will recommence within a week.
CONTRIBUTIONS RECEIVED SINCE LAST REPORTED
|Netherlands||438,430||UNOCHA Coordination/Relief Management Support|
PLEDGES RECEIVED SINCE LAST REPORTED
|Finland||439,500||WFP Food Aid|
HUMANITARIAN SITUATION AND OPERATIONS
KABUL: Following the release of all its abducted staff UNHCR increased the level of its operations particularly in relation with the winter relief distribution and quilt making by widows. During a meeting with the Taliban authorities in Kabul, UNDP was informed that all Primary Schools will open as of 6 March 1997. They would welcome any assistance that could be provided. UNDP, with the main agencies present in Kabul, discussed then the possibility for a pilot programme which would include a number of important pinchmarks to ensure consistency in the announced education policy.
The UNHCR Pul-i-Charkhi checkpost reported that between 1 and 7 December 1,624 individuals returned to Kabul (102 from Pakistan, 254 from Jalalabad and 1,268 from other places) and 5,080 departed (2,291 to Jalalabad, 1,771 to Pakistan and 1,018 to other places). WFP observed 357 trucks loaded with 4,284 individuals entering Kabul city from the northern frontline areas. WFP distributed 791 MT of food to various WFP assisted programmes and completed four food-for-work projects. WHO, in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Health, commemorated World AIDS Day and distributed medical and surgical items to hospitals. UNICEF and AVICEN began an educational and medical follow-up programme in the Taqhia Maskan government orphanage. UNCHS removed a total of 2,900 m3 of solid waste from the city centre. The UNCHS regional programme manager visited a prefabricated housing factory and the construction department of Kabul municipality and discussed possible future joint projects.
HERAT: UNHCR completed a census at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps and registered a total of 1,527 IDP families (215 at Minaret II, 524 at Rawza and 788 at Shahidahi), excluding 150 families living in compound tents. On average seven IDP families entered Herat city per day. UNHCR contributed ten tents and 67 blankets to IDPs and fuel to hospitals. FAO analyzed samples of fertilizers after complaints of farmers that they were not giving the expected yield increase. WFP reported the arrival of eight truck loads of blankets which will be distributed to IDPs and vulnerable groups.
JALALABAD: 92 WFP trucks carrying 2,204 MT of wheat and wheat flour arrived from Peshawar. UNOCHA and WFP distributed 16,567 bags of wheat to IDPs in Sar Shahi camp. WHO conducted two TBA and one oral health training course and distributed 40 TBA kits and more than one MT of medicines. WHO completed the renovation of the medical college building. UNICEF organized a training course on the rational use of drugs and monitored the community mobilization team in Nangarhar. UNHCR continued with the reconstruction of schools, clinics, bridges, shallow wells and road repairs in five provinces. 90 trainees graduated from a UNOCHA, WFP and SJAWO sponsored training course in carpentry, masonry and welding.
MAZAR: UNCHS constructed three culverts, collected 240 m3 of solid waste and cleaned 500 metres of side ditches. WHO conducted a training course for acute respiratory infection (ARI) and distributed medical supplies to the Faryab Malaria Department. UNICEF conducted a refresher training course for 20 vaccinators and supplied 1,500 kg of drugs and medical equipment and 30,000 litres of diesel to two provinces. UNHCR, WFP and UNICEF distributed 1,500 notebooks, 1,500 pencils, black boards and chalks to a joint income generation project in Kamaz IDP camp.
JALALABAD: Between 8 and 11 December a DHA mine action study workshop and a demining regional seminar were held in Jalalabad. Operational and institutional matters were intensively discussed by 30 participants, many of them working in mine affected countries in Asia and Africa. The UNOCHA Mine Clearance Programme was recognized as a well integrated programme which can serve as an example.
KABUL: A volunteer mine awareness teacher training began at OMAR premises. During this week five persons were injured, three of them children, in mine accidents and ten persons involved in unexploded ordnance (UXO) incidents.
MAZAR: Between 9 and 12 December 968 Tajik refugees received mine awareness training in Sahki camp. 622 notebooks, 346 silkscreens, 60 posters and 90 brochures were also distributed.