USAID Field Report Afghanistan Jul 2002
Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance
Office of Transition Initiatives
USAID/OTI's program goal is to support the process of recovery, rehabilitation and political de-velopment in post-conflict Afghanistan. Working with a number of local and international part-ners, OTI's program is building citizen confidence in the progress of political development, em-powering citizens to address basic community needs, and building an alliance between legitimate government structures and citizens. In addition, OTI supports efforts to increase news and infor-mation about the implementation of the Loya Jirga process and to strengthen independent media. OTI's estimated budget for FY2002 is $21,100,000.
While a relatively successful Loya Jirga gave some hope for a peaceful transition in Afghanistan, the peace remains tenuous while regional commanders continuously compete for power. The recent assassination of the new Islamic Transitional Government of Afghanistan's (ITGA's) Vice President Haji Qadir, highlights wide-spread concern about security and stability. In addi-tion to taking on the task of governing the country and setting the stage for elections in 18 months, the Transitional Government is faced with the challenge of working with donors to im-plement a massive reconstruction program. These two major issues are further complicated by the facts that Coalition forces are waging an active war against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda and that nearly 1,700,000 Afghan refugees and 620,000 internally displaced persons have returned to their home communities since October 2001. The successful reintegration refugees and IDPs into their communities is critically important for the ITGA to maintain its credibility.
The unstable security situation in Afghanistan had a direct impact on OTI's programming in July. In Mazar-e-Sharif province, OTI's work through implementing partner IOM-ATI (Afghan Transition Initiative) continued to be hampered given the local authorities' unwillingness to lo-cate or prosecute the perpetrators who raped an American NGO worker in June. Further, on two separate occasions in the southeast region of the country, road trips had to be canceled because of safety concerns.
A. Narrative Summary
OTI's overall program strategy is to build government capacities in four ways. They are: through the process of planning and implementing projects, which are guided by community pri-orities; by creating and/or strengthening linkages between the national, provincial, and district government; improving the communication infrastructure; and implementing a wide-ranging media strategy. OTI finalized its post Loya Jirga strategy in collaboration with implementing partners IOM and RONCO - and in tandem with USAID's strategic objectives, which include infrastructure, food security, economic governance, democracy and governance, education and health.
Highlights of OTI's work in Afghanistan during the month of July included:
- Ongoing project development with the
Afghanistan ministries in Kabul;
- Deployment of an OTI Senior Field Advisor
to participate on a UNAMA DDR (Demobi-lization, Disarmament, and Reintegration)
- Expanding the work of implementing partner
IOM-ATI (International Organization for Migration-Afghanistan Transition
Initiative) to include offices in the provinces of Kon-duz and Faryab;
- Site visits by OTI field staff to Bamiyan,
Herat, and Wardak in coordination with IOM-ATI and U.S. Civil Affairs representatives;
- Disseminating information to the general
public about new projects that are supporting the new government in Kabul;
- Hiring a second local Afghan Program
Manager, and a third local Afghan Program Assis-tant through OTI SWIFT
- Finalizing a post Loya Jirga strategy.
In Herat, OTI's implementing partner, IOM-ATI, reported that July was a turbulent month. Several fights broke out between forces loyal to the governor, Ismail Khan, and local commanders. In addition, new rules from local authorities regarding female staff hired by international organizations and NGOs have created concerns. According to the United Nations (UNAMA), two ex-patriate female staff members were told by a man believed to be a member of the secret police to cover their faces or face punishment.
In an interesting turn of events, the government of Herat may be drawing closer to Kabul. Some US$2 million in customs revenue have reportedly been remitted to the central government, and the Kabul leadership was called upon to play a mediation role in the recent fighting, marking a break from Heart's pre-Loya Jirga independence. Futhermore, the work of the administrative departments does not seem to have been negatively affected by the turbulence. The departments maintain their links to Kabul ministries and have repeatedly asked for the assistance of USAID/OTI's partner, IOM-ATI's, in strengthening those links. USAID/OTI partner staff retain strong links to the government, often serving as an informal intermediary with other international agencies.
Bamiyan province is an important area in establishing stability in Afghanistan because it lies at the center of the country and is the home of Vice-President Khalili and the Hazara people. In Bamiyan, the possibility of progress and improvement is substantial. OTI field staff traveled to the region from July 8 - 14. Critical needs identified by community and government representa-tives included: hydro-electricity; education; healthcare; employment; and, roads, dams and bridges. Staff reported that enhancing the visibility of the central government, expanding the ca-pacity of the provincial authorities, and extending the roads in the region may be one of the most important investments the U.S. government can make for peace and stability in the region. OTI's implementing partner, IOM-ATI, has a staff member based in Bamiyan who has traveled extensively in the region, identifying significant reconstruction opportunities.
In its June report, OTI reported providing three grants to the Ministry of Water and Power in Kabul, totaling an estimated $130,000. The first grants are nearly completed, which were to provide emergency electrical cable, transformers, spare parts, and two vehicles to the Ministry of Water and Power in Kabul. In late July the switched was flipped in two locations, providing elec-tricity for the first time in years to an estimated 1,000 families in two areas of Kabul that have been heavily affected by the return of IDPs. For many families it will be the first time that their houses have ever been provided with electricity.
B. Grants Activity Summary for OTI Programming in Afghanistan for July 2002
NEXT STEPS/IMMEDIATE PRIORITIES
During the month of August, OTI will:
- Begin implementation of its post Loya
Jirga country strategy which will include expand-ing OTI-IOM/ATI's geographic
coverage to include the provinces of Wardak, Helmand, Uruzgan, Ghor, Saripul,
Baghlan, Takhar, Kapissa, and Parwan out of already existing offices;
- Finalize and continue implementing its
- Finalize expansion of IOM-ATI's coverage
in Konduz and Faryab provinces;
- Hire a local program manager for media programming
In Washington, contact Karma Lively
at 202-712-5755, Klively@usaid.gov or Chris O'Donnell at 202-712-0174,
In Afghanistan, contact Miguel Reabold, firstname.lastname@example.org.