Afghanistan: UNJLC Bulletin 10/2003


UNJLC AFGHANISTAN BULLETIN 10/2003 of 05/03/2003

UNJLC bulletins aim to provide a concise overview of the logistical situation within Afghanistan on a weekly basis. While in depth analysis of particular agency operations is outside the scope of these reports, it is hoped that readers receive a valuable overview of those logistical issues affecting the humanitarian community as a whole.




On 28th February, the High Commissioner for UNHCR held meetings with the leaders of the opposing factions in Mazar-I Sharif and called for a peaceful solution to the conflicts between the parties.

Situation in Gusfandi remains unchanged. Road missions to this area are still under suspension until further notice. Furthermore, tensions still prevail in Maimana.

A security assessment for the North Eastern Area was conducted in Nahrin and Pul-I Khumri on 25th - 26th February. Details of the findings would be reported later. The situation in Yamgan district of Badakhshan province has reportedly stabilized.

A mine incident resulting in the death of the ex-Administrator of Herat was reported on 25th February. The incident took place some 12 km West of Herat city. Reports indicate that due to heavy rains and soil erosion there is a threat potential of the relocation of old buried mines in the region.

On 28th February, a bomb exploded in front of the Ministry of Education in Kandahar city. No casualties were reported. Investigations are underway.

The district Administrator of Delaram, Mr. Habibullah, was assassinated at his home in Zaranj. The provincial authorities have reportedly arrested some 13 suspects from his tribe. Consequently the situation in Delaram is extremely tense. All missions between Delaram and Zaranj have been suspended until further notice.

Two commanders have reportedly left Peshawar with the mission to attack fuel and logistics trucks on the Jalalabad - Kabul corridor. Currently the road remains open, however, vigilance and strict adherence to the MOSS is essential. Agencies are advised to avoid fuel convoys on the road.

The issue of harassment of ACTED staff and redirecting traffic in the Salang Tunnel remains and will be on the agenda at a meeting to be convened with the National Security Council.

The authorities have set up a new district police force in Kabul district 14 to combat with increased crime level in the area. ISAF and Ministry of Interior have established a telephone response line - 020 2200 164 and +93 (0)70 277 235 - to contact for assistance.

Gunfire was reported at the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul on 25th February resulting in death of two Afghans and injury of an international staff member of a British security firm.

On 27th February, a WFP mission travelling in Paktia Province - from Waza Khan to Khair Kot - was looted by armed men; one vehicle was stolen. Local authorities in the region are investigating.


No recent developments reported.


Many domestic flights in the country were cancelled due to inclement weather.


As of Monday 3rd March, access to the major centres within the Central Highlands is not possible except to Bamyan through the Shibar Pass. If current calm weather conditions prevail, most passes and routes will re-open by the end of the week, however, the forecast anticipates continued snowfall. Severe avalanche warnings have been reported for the Sadberg Pass area.

The Salang Tunnel has been closed since midday Saturday, 1st March due to the occurrences and further risk of avalanches, but reopened (from South to North) at approximately 11.00 a.m. on Wednesday, 5th March. During one of the weekend avalanches an ACTED dump truck with five staff members on board was buried. Due to the expertise and prompt action of MoPW and ACTED staff, the victims were rescued uninjured. ACTED is seeking assistance in the form of a small helicopter to conduct controlled avalanche activities to reduce future risk to travellers.

The Nili- Daikondi and the Jawz - Nilli stretches are blocked by snow. The mountain passes Chapalak, Bande Kosa, Barlan, Spezarak, Korak and Eastern part of Qunag are also reported blocked. Except Korak, all stretches and passes would be cleared by Friday, 7th March. These areas are in the Central Highlands close to Dai Kundi.

The stretch Shindand to Shahrak in Ghor Province is open. A daily snow accumulation of approx 120 mm is reported, however, none of the snow is covering the road. Mud is minimal resulting in the road being relatively clear and passable. Culverts and drainage systems plus gravel at the critical spots are currently under construction.

Due to last week's snowfalls, the total snow layer thickness in the Sabzak pass approximately 800 mm and snow precipitations have been reported during the past 5 days. Meanwhile the snow is melting during daytime and freezing during the night creating serious constraints. The pass is open, but travellers should expect approx 30 minutes of delays to pass it. Snow chains are obligatory and the road is only one way.

The road from Sabzak to Qala-I Naw is open. No snow is reported on the road but mud is a serious constraint due to heavy rains. Roads from Qala-I Naw to Bala Murghab and Ghormach are open but muddy. On the route from Qala-I Naw to Qadis and further to Jawand warm spring weather is reported. The road, which is open and passable, is dry without mud or snow.

Roads from Herat to Shindand and Farah are all clear and passable.

The stretch from Maimana to Almar-Qaisar (Almar, Qaisar) is blocked due to snow and security reasons. The Maimana - Bilchiragh corridor is open but muddy; 6hrs drive should be considered. The road from Teylan to Kohistan district is blocked. Furthermore, the routes from Lela (Dara-I-Suf) to Targuj (Bakhlab) and to Gulwarz (Bakhlab) are also blocked due to snow.

The stretch Sari Pul - Charaz is blocked due to snow, while, the road from Sari Pul to Gorzivan is open.


No new developments reported during the week.


The average price of Diesel in Afghanistan (Mazar) was reportedly USD 0.23 while the average price per litre of Petrol was USD 0.29. The average exchange rate in Afghanistan during the same period was AFG 51.57 (Mazar) per USD 1.

During the week, prices of Diesel in the North and North East Areas of Afghanistan ranged between USD 0.24 (Kunduz and Pul-I Khumri) and USD 0.29 (Faizabad). The Petrol prices in these areas ranged between USD 0.27 (Pul-I Khumri) and USD 0.35 (Faizabad). The week's average exchange rate ranged between AFG 52 (Faizabad, Taloqan and Maimana) and AFG 53 (Kunduz and Pul-I Khumri).


No developments were reported during the reporting period.


The first session of the River Engineering workshop conducted by UNJLC was held in Kabul from 3rd to 5th March at the UNJLC conference room. About 23 members - students and graduates - of the Engineering faculty of Kabul University attended the session. Engineers from the Ministry of Irrigation and MRRD assisted in conducting the course.

The second session of the three-day workshop in Kabul will commence on 8th March. This will be attended by engineers from the Ministries, NGOs and UN agencies. Participation from the Polytechnic Institute is also expected. Itinerary of courses in other locations - Mazar, Herat, Faizabad and Bamyan (not confirmed) - will be provided shortly. For further inquires please contact or the respective UNJLC field offices.


In the Operational Winter Task Force (WTF) meeting on 23rd February, MRRD proposed the end of March as official termination date of the Winter Programme. There are still commodities to be distributed and the MRRD/MODUH monitors are in the field monitoring urban centres. Agencies are being advised to integrate remaining winter activities into regular programmes in the field. The agency discussed the process of evaluation of the winter activities in the meeting.

It was reported at the Winter Operational Task Force meeting that the Afghanistan Interim Authority might establish a Disaster Preparedness organisation within the government structure. MRRD advised that the WTF continue, with a modified Terms of Reference, to support this department. A Framework for Disaster Management was circulated by UNAMA. It is expected that these proposals will develop over the coming months.

Drifting snow and avalanches have hampered the snow clearing efforts during the week. Severe winter weather conditions including winds of 60 - 90 km per hour and heavy snowfall have been reported in the Central Highlands and in the vicinity of the Salang Tunnel since Thursday 27th February. Furthermore, the snow is melting all over the mountains and the water level has risen considerably in numerous rivers.

A previously delayed Goal/IRC distribution of blankets and plastic sheets to 6,700 urban vulnerable families in Mazar city and 400 urban families in Maimana has been completed. The planned Goal/IRC/ACTED programme for Mazar and Maimana is now considered implemented.

Some progress has been made about the 749 MT of coal that was seized by a local commander around the Salang Tunnel between 7th and 9th February. The coal was intended for 21,000 people (3,500 families) of the Central Area. The Ministry of Defence has reportedly ordered the commander to release it.

A Winter Task Force in Mazar-I Sharif is working on a flood preventive potentially caused by heavy rains and spring runoff in the North. UNJLC has compiled a list of possible locations vulnerable to flooding. Contingency planning and pre-emptive measures, that may be taken to mitigate the impact of flooding on the population, will be further discussed.

All planned 4,454 MT of food has been distributed to the inaccessible areas in Nuristan, Kunar, Laghman and Nangahar Provinces. About 57 % of 21,000 MT of food, dispatched to inaccessible areas in Bamian, Wardak and Uruzgan provinces, has been distributed. In the West, 84 % of the planned food requirements have been distributed. During the reporting period, 21 MT of wheat was distributed in Qadis district of Badghis province. The distribution in Jawand will commence within a week.

Some 7,638 MT of food has been distributed, representing 73% of the total food requirements in the North East. The distribution in Pamir, Wakhan district is almost complete; 373 families collected rations while ten more families are on the way to collect it.

A survey showed that 4,000 families in districts 2, 5, and 8 of Kabul City have not received any winter support. ACTED has meanwhile obtained a list of beneficiaries for all three districts and would distribute coal and stoves to the identified population. In addition, UNICEF will assist with non-food items to 1,500 families in District 2. Both CHF and Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) indicated that they might have additional plastic sheeting or tarpaulins to donate to ACTED for distribution.

In the East, the distribution of winter items in Hogyani and Hesarak districts of Nangahar Province are still suspended due to security restrictions. Distribution and selection of new beneficiaries among spontaneous returnees in Nuristan province has been postponed due to the heavy snowfall.

Distribution process in Khost has been very slow due to the security concerns. It has been agreed that remaining beneficiaries will be called to the UNHCR office in Khost to receive winter items. Assistance would be provided for transport fare.


As a follow up to the recommendations by UN/NGO/MRRD/MRR mission regarding the settlement for the displaced people - made after the occurrence of deaths caused by a sudden cold spell in early December in the Spin Boldak -UNHCR contracted an Afghan NGO to tackle the water and sanitation problem. This organisation will focus on the installation of 520 emergency and 908 permanent latrines on all five locations in Spin Boldak. The same agency will distribute water in all the locations.

Findings of the recently completed Rural Rehabilitation Department/Solidarities assessment of 11 villages in Dalan sub- district of Sholgra district will be forwarded to UNHCR for follow up. A total of 150 returnee families in the region have been identified for assistance. The plight and status (returnee vs. resident) of additional families located in Sholgra district (returnees) will be assessed in the light of reports received.

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