This document provides a weekly overview of developments in Afghanistan from 25 January —31 January 2012, with hyper-links to source material highlighted in blue and underlined in the text. For more inibrmation on the topics below or other issues pertaining to events in Afghanistan, contact the members of the Afghanistan Team, or Osit our website at www.cimicweb.orq.
An article in The Guardian says that an increasing number of Afghan teenage boys undertake a long, difficult journey from Afghanistan to Europe to escape pot erty, recruitment by the Taliban and violence. Many of the boys are orphans who travel in groups alongside adult migrants for several months. It is unclear how many boys attempt the journey or how many ultimately reach Europe safely. According to the article, shelters in Paris took in 300 Afghan boys last year. A child-protection expert from Italy said 635 Afghan boys passed through a day care centre in Rome last year, twice as many as the previous year. The largest group of foreign children seeking asylum in Europe in 2010, totalling 4.883, were from Afghanistan.
Bakhtar News Agency reports Rotary International has donated 5 000 boxes of polio vaccines to Afghanistan. The vaccines cost USD 50,000 and were provided to the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH). According to Afghan officials cited in the article, the vaccines will be used to implement inoculation campaigns in remote, difficult-to-access regions. However, these officials warned that other factors make the elimination of polio difficult, including unchecked illegal immigration across Afghan's porous borders and the on-going conflict.
Russia has donated 3.000 tonnes of flour to Afghanistan as detailed by Bakhtar. This donation was sent by truck to the city of Mazar-e Shard in northern Afghanistan. where it will be distributed to those in Balkh province who are in most need of assistance. According to Alexandria Gulban. the Russian consul in Mazar-e Shard. the donation was made in response to the current dire economic conditions in Afghanistan.
Pajhwok Afghan News says that more than 1.030 internally displaced families who had returned to the Kout and Khiwa districts of Nangarhar province were given winter assistance which was donated by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). Also according to Bakker. officials in Badakhshan province have raised the casualty figures from recent snow avalanches to 47 after two more dead bodies were discovered. Badakhsan's governor, Sha Walullah Addeb, warned the numbers may continue to rise. He further noted that 12 houses were destroyed, 65 people were injured and 1,000 livestock were killed by recent avalanches. The governor said that every affected family had been given USD 207.