USAID civilian assistance project helps dozens harmed in Taliban attack
5 January 2012 | Parwan, Afghanistan
Within six weeks, beneficiaries received kits containing household items such as carpets, crockery, a gas stove, and a solar panel.
The Taliban frequently targets senior Afghan officials. Innocent civilians are often caught up in these attacks.
The governor’s compound damaged after a Talaban attack. In August 2011, the Taliban launched an attack on the provincial governor‟s compound in the provincial capital of Charikar in Parwan Province, killing 14 people and injuring 30 others. The incident was reported around the world. Dozens of people had gone to the compound to collect their national identification cards resulting in the large number of civilians trapped in the attack.
Tamim, one of the government workers at the compound, described the attack: “I was doing my work when we heard a big noise at the entrance gate. All of a sudden, people shouted „suicide attackers!‟ I jumped from the window of my office, but a gunman shot three rounds at me. Fortunately, he missed but many of my colleagues and people who had come to collect their ID cards were not so lucky. The attackers came into the office and started shooting at everybody.”
A USAID project assists civilians affected by incidents even when the Taliban or other insurgents are responsible. The project helped the families of 28 victims who were killed or injured in the August attack on the governor‟s compound. Project staff worked with great discretion and speed due to the high profile and politically sensitive nature of the incident.
The victims were offered a choice of one of three livelihood kits. Most families chose the grocery kit which contains $1,500 worth of basic grocery supplies which can be used to start a small grocery shop. Said Mustafah, one of the injured civilians, “The assistance we received means a lot to all of us. We are most grateful.”
The USAID project has benefitted more than 9,000 families throughout Afghanistan ranging from small business grants, to funds to rebuild their homes, literacy training, and kits containing thousands of dollars worth of useful items.