Improving Municipal Government Services
USAID is assisting the municipal government of Kabul to improve the availability and quality of services provided to citizens. In April, the program focused on garbage collection, sanitary drainage system, street maintenance and parks and roadside beautification projects.
As a result of the garbage collection effort, eleven major dumpsites have been cleaned-up and approximately 250 cubic meters of garbage was disposed. In addition, a door-to-door garbage collection process was enacted in the target district, collecting garbage from 2100 - 2500 houses per week. The project employs ten municipal workers using two dump trucks.
The sanitary drainage system, or ditch cleaning, also employs ten municipal workers. Through ditch cleaning and the building of a culvert, water is flowing properly and the flooding hazard has been eliminated.
The renovation of Park Shahr-e Nan is currently underway, with plans being developed for the new design. USAID staff and citizens recently participated in a community service park clean up project.
State-Owned Enterprise Privatization
USAID is performing valuations of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to assist the Ministry of Finance in determining future steps in the restructuring and privatization process. Per the request of Finance Minister Ahady, a basic valuation method is being used, which values net assets based on market prices for land, adjusted book value for buildings, and an estimated value of the equipment based on appreciated historical cost to the extent that information can be obtained.
The majority of SOEs have not made investments in enterprise for decades, and as a result have both outdated technology and equipment. In addition, many buildings and facilities have been looted and destroyed. Many are operating on a fraction of capacity or are renting out space to earn a small income. In most cases, the most valuable assets of the SOEs are the land and the facilities. It is estimated that land values for SOEs could substantially exceed $1 billion.
The deterioration in the security situation in Afghanistan during the valuation process has led to a slowdown of the work, which should now be completed by mid-August.
Reintegration Activities for Former Combatants
On June 1, 2005, USAID amended an agreement with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to provide an additional $3.5 million to support reintegration activities of former combatants (FCs) under the Afghan New Beginnings Program (ANBP). To date, USAID has dispersed $7.5 million of a total $9 million for the program. The ANBP is supporting the Afghan Government’s efforts to honourably decommission the Afghan Military Forces. This is a vital step towards restoring national security and creating an enabling environment for further security sector reform.
The disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of former combatants is continuing at good pace. Teams continue to work throughout the country to ensure that personal reintegration options are completed by all eligible persons. The number of disarmed FCs is now in excess of 60,000, of which the large majority have been demobilized. To date, approximately 48,605 former combatants have entered the reintegration process and the total number of weapons collected is 33,280, of which 9,085 were classified as heavy weapons.
The grant from USAID will be used to support additional training and reintegration activities. Further information on the program is available on: www.ddrafg.com
Number of Hostile Attacks: During this reporting period, there were 15 hostile attacks resulting in seven deaths and 11 injuries.
USAID Related: During this reporting period, there were four hostile attacks directly affecting USAID related projects and/or staff. There were 10 attacks against other aid agencies and NGOs.
Last Attacks: On June 3, in the Tirin Kot district of Uruzgan, an Afghan national working for the Afghan Civil Society Forum (ACSF) was killed, his father wounded and a cousin was shot. The victim was working as a part of a USAID civic education program, educating villagers on voting procedures for the upcoming parliamentary elections. On June 9, Clementina Cantoni, the Italian aid worker with CARE who was kidnapped in Kabul on May 16, was released. Minister of Interior Jalali reports that no ransom was paid and no concessions were given. He reports that the support of the Afghan government and Afghan people, along with tribal elders who negotiated with her abductors, brought her release.