The Northern Area has been relatively quiet, with the exception of an outbreak of violence in Gusfandi where two soldiers were killed in a clash between the opposing factions. The fighting has now ceased; however, the situation remains tense. The Northern Area security commission would further investigate.
There are concerns over the situation in Faryab province, especially in Maimana where tensions are again high and the ongoing dispute between factions remains unresolved. Fighting has reportedly occurred in the Pashtun Kot district - South of the provincial capital Maimana - between opposing factions.
In the Northern Area, the disarmament campaign recommenced during the week.
On Wednesday 5th March, a mine accident was reported in the vicinity of Zerikoh Three injuries and one casualty was reported when the jeep struck the anti-tank mine. In a separate incident, seven children were injured when a bottle -- they were playing with -- exploded.
The overall Security situation in Bala-Murghab and Ghormach areas remains of concern due to the fact that the four different factions are occupying the area with their forces. Missions to this area are permitted on a case-by-case basis.
In Jawand district, the local commanders broke into the warehouse of World Vision (INGO) and looted some items. After the negotiation by the World Vision delegations with the District Governor of Jawand, some of the property was returned to warehouse.
In South West of Kandahar, three soldiers were injured when their pick-up hit a land mine in Panjwai district. A separate mine incident was reported in Hazar Jupht resulting in the death of several soldiers. In another incident, two rockets were fired across the city. The launch site of the rockets is not yet known. Furthermore, Coalition forces discovered a large weapons cache in Northern Helmand province.
The situation has once again stabilized in Delaram and UN road missions can return to the area. However, missions from Kandahar to the South into Dand and on the road running South East from Qalat are suspended until further notice.
Heavy gunfire and explosions (lasting some 30 minutes) were reported from outside Gardez on Friday 7th March. This incident was reportedly the result of Coalition Forces responding to a series of 'probing' attacks on its isolated outposts.
There are concerns over security in the East. Reportedly, two IEDs detonated in Jalalabad during the week; one outside the WFP compound, the other outside an electrical shop in the centre of town -- neither caused significant damage.
The districts of Khogyani, Sherzad and Hisarak remain out of bound until further notice. The 'poppy eradication campaign' is still a cause for concern in the region.
On 5th March, the authorities in Pul-I Charkhi area, East of Kabul City, found four BM12 rockets. On 6th March, in Kabul an IED was detonated as an ISAF patrol passed by, resulting in the death an ISAF interpreter on board and injuring a soldier.
On 5th March, a Corolla vehicle - containing a large consignment of opium powder - was confiscated in Safid Sang district of Logar Province. All four persons on board were arrested; the case is under investigation.
A WFP road mission was hijacked in Haft Asiab area of Syedabad district on Friday 7th March. The vehicle was taken to an isolated, spot some two hours drive from the main road, and all Communications equipment was looted. The mission comprised three national staff, two from UNWFP and one from an NGO. The staff were later released and arrived safely in Kabul.
On 4th and 7th March, mortar bombs were reported landing near Bagram air base (fired from an unknown direction); no casualties reported. Furthermore, on 4th March, Coalition troops discovered a large cache of arms and ammunition in the Bagram area.
2. CIVIL MILITARY RELATIONS
No recent developments reported during the last week.
3. AIR OPERATIONS
Rehabilitation of the Mazar runway has not yet started.
4. TRANSPORT CORRIDORS
Snowfalls are still high on the Bandi Bayan pass and Bandi Ghook pass, making this route still inaccessible.
The Salang Tunnel remained open during the whole week with exception of one afternoon - Sunday, 9th March. In view of the continued presence and authority of local commanders, it is highly recommended for all international and local staff of all organizations to approach the military checkpoints with caution, as the behaviour of soldiers at the checkpoints can be unpredictable.
In the Central Highlands the weather has been clear and cold allowing crews and snow ploughs to progress. UNOPS, Solidariete' and Madera were able to work on their stretches and roads were partially cleaned up. Avalanches are reported less frequent.
As of Tuesday March 11th the Bamyan -- Yakawlang stretch has reopened.
Despite the past week's severe avalanche warnings reported for the Sadberg Pass area, the Sadberg Pass reopened. The Yakawlang - Sadberg stretch is also accessible
The Sadberg -- Panjab -- Lal junction to Lal and the Lal - Chagcharan stretch were reported open during the week.
Hajigak is still closed on Madera side since they are prioritising the Panjao-Behsud road, whereas Solidarites' has cleared the northern side to the top of the Pass as of Thursday 6th March.
Solidarites' reported that 30 CAWC workers are clearing the Shibar Pass. It has also been reported that the road itself is deteriorating since more trucks were using it due to the frequent closures of the Salang Tunnel in the past week, and, because water from melting snow creates rivulets.
The Nili- Daikondi, Jawz - Nilli and the Siah Dara - Jawz stretches are blocked. Blocked are also the mountain passes Chapalak, Bande Kosa, Barlan, Spezarak, Korak and East part of Qunag. Works to reopen the stretches are ongoing. Approximately 30 workers a day are involved in the Nili - Daikondi area, being able to clear 100 meters a day, whereas, 50 workers are trying to clear approximately 200 - 250 meters a day in the Janz - Nili area. These areas are located in the Central Highlands close to Dai Kundi.
The stretch Shindand to Shahrak in Ghor Province is open with a daily snow accumulation of approximately 120 mm; 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 is approximately 800 mm; snow precipitations have been reported during the past week. Meanwhile, the snow is melting during daytime and freezing during the night creating serious constraints. The pass is open, but travellers should expect approximately 30 minutes of delay to surpass. Snow chains are obligatory and the road is only one way.
The road from Sabzak to Qala-I Naw is open. No snow on the road, but mud is a serious constraint due to heavy rains. Qala-I Naw to Bala Murghab and Ghormach are open but mud is all over the way. For 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.
The stretch from Maimana to Almar-Qaisar (Almar, Qaisar) is blocked due snow and security reasons. The road from Maimana to Bilchiragh is open but muddy, 6 hours drive should be considered.
The road from Teylan to Kohistan district is blocked. A WFP Humanitarian Convoy, carrying 93 MT of supply, is stuck in the corridor. The stretch from Sari Pul to Charaz (Kohistanat) is blocked due to snow. Moreover, the stretch from Sari Pul to Gorzivan (Kohistanat) is open.
The roads from Lela (Dara-I-Suf) to Targuj (Bakhlab) and to Gulwarz (Bakhlab) are reportedly blocked due to snow.
5. TRANSPORT SECTOR
No new developments reported during the week.
The average price of Diesel in Afghanistan ranged during the week between USD 0.25 (Mazar) and USD 0.29 (Herat). The average price per liter of Petrol ranged between USD 0.25 (Mazar) and USD 0.33 (Herat). The average exchange rate in Afghanistan, during the same period, was between AFG 47.16 (Herat) and AFG 51.20 (Mazar) per USD 1.
During the week, prices of Diesel in the North and North East Areas of Afghanistan ranged between USD 0.23 (Pul-i-Khumri) and USD 0.29 (Faizabad). The Petrol prices in these areas ranged between USD 0.27 (Pul-i-Khumri) and USD 0.31 (Faizabad). The week's average Exchange rate ranged between AFG 51 in Faizabad and Pol-i-Khumri and AFG 51.50 in Maimana per USD 1.
No developments were reported during the reporting period.
8. TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE
UNJLC Mazar organised meeting on road rehabilitation strategy. It was discussed that the coordination body should be road rehabilitation section in provincial APBS.
The snow clearance, Solidarites' reported, is mainly done through manual labours. The Kamaz trucks with ploughs are of limited use due to mechanical problems with the equipment and drivers that are not well trained for snow clearance. Basically, the Kamaz trucks are used to transport labourers.
From 6th to 12th March, 459,780 beneficiaries received 1,055 MT of food; including 500 MT of food to 56,800 beneficiaries under the Food for Work/Food for Asset Creation, 144 MT of food to 208,100 beneficiaries under the Food for Education, 130 MT of food to 53,400 IDPs and refugees under the Relief and Resettlement of IDPs and Refugees, 268 MT of food to 139,120 beneficiaries under the Urban Vulnerable Bakery Projects, and 13 MT of food to 2,360 beneficiaries under the Supplementary Feeding scheme. As of 9th March, 36,800 MT, amounting to 77 percent of planned food commodities, were distributed to beneficiaries under the Winterization programme.
WFP Kandahar together with MoR, UNHCR, FAO and ten IDP representatives established a task force to explore ways to assists IDPs returning to Registan Province. The task force will meet regularly to design implementation plans and follow-up on the project implementation.
UNJLC is gearing down its activities in preparation to its demise at the end of March. Sixty of the seventy activities mandated by the UNJLC work-plan for phase II have been successfully carried out as well as many requested adhoc by the authorities, Donors, UN agencies and NGOs. The ten activities remaining appeared germaine to long term coordination and a meeting was called with those agencies whose activities most closely correlated with them to evaluate the merit, or otherwise, to sustain the ten activities. And if so decided, which agency would carry out which activity.
The meeting was held at UNJLC meeting room on the 12th afternoon and nine out of ten activities were deemed worthy to carry on. The repartition of the activities follows below:
WFP will keep holding its monthly meetings with all those UN agencies and NGOs active in matters of logistics and, additionally, they will carry out tasks 1. and 2.
1. Keep agencies aware of any significant trends or policy changes in the transport and customs sectors;
2. Maintain links with five Ministries involved in Logistics related activities; Civil Aviation and Tourism, Transport, Rural Rehabilitation and Development, Public Works and Finance;
UNOPS will carry out tasks 3. and 4. in Kabul with secretariat provided by IOM. UNAMA will carry out tasks 3. and 4. in the provinces. Information from the provinces will be centralised by UNOPS/IOM Kabul.
3. CO-Chair the Road Task Force in Kabul and Regional Road Task Forces in Mazar, Hirat and Kandahar; by September 2003 handover all coordination to MRRD
4. Liaise with concerned donors to ensure short-term road repair activities are aligned with long-term efforts; Coordinate the allocation of road repair activities among interested agencies and assist in the mobilisation of requisite resources;
AIMS will carry out tasks 5. and 6.
5. Maintain a database of Agency winter access requirements and overall plan;
6. Continue, inasmuch as possible, the compilation of a logistics Bulletin to be published by AIMS, maintaining hyperlinks with the UNJLC Web Site in Rome which will be kept up to be used as a repository of Logs info/reference source for Afghanistan.
UNOPS will carry out tasks 7. and 8.
7. Highlight and address logistics bottlenecks, which may develop during the winter period; pass on this task to the relevant ministry by September 2003;
8. Improve the 2002/2003 plan for snow removal and avalanche control facilities intended for the winter period 2003/2004; identify time frame during which the appropriate Ministry can take over such an activity;
UNAMA will carry out Task 9.
9. Maintain operational level CIMIC /CMCoord dialogue with ISAF and C/JCMOTF in Kabul and the CA/CHLCs in the provinces;
Task 10. was not considered practical to sustain, particularly when those agencies with relevant FI & NFI issue their own regular bulletins/sitreps
10. Assist to maintain a database on Agency NFI and FI stock levels in the region.
On Wednesday 12th UNJLC held a farewell gathering at its office in Kabul, which was well attended in spite of the offering, inter alia, of refreshments such as garlic meat balls. We would like to thank all of those who could find the time to come and those who could not but nevertheless supported us during the last year and a half.
Some of our staff is already being called to other jobs elsewhere so that there might be only a skeleton staff in the various offices during the last week of March, March 31st being the official demise date of UNJLC Afghanistan. In fact, one or two activities will carry on: an evaluation mission of the UNJLC will take place (end of April-early May) and I hope some of you will be able to attend its meetings and give their inputs, in Kabul and elsewhere. Additionally, the last part of River Engineering Practical Training might take place in April and May; a request is being made to the sponsor, SHA, which we hope will be favourable in order to cover this final important activity.
UAN: +92 51 111 222 323
UNJLC Chief: +92 51 285 5853
Project Management: 2068
Information Management: 2110
Fax: +92 51 285 4942