Rebuilding Afghanistan: Weekly activity update 19 - 25 Jun 2005

Situation Report
Originally published

Reconstruction of Judicial Facilities

On June 20, a ceremony was held to celebrate USAID’s completion of the rehabilitation of Jabal us-Saraj Tower in Parwan province. The tower serves as part of the district’s courthouse, and has significant historical value not only to the people of Jabul us-Saraj, but to all of Afghanistan. The tower was used as a headquarters during the anti-Soviet struggle by the Northern Alliance.

To date in FY05, USAID has constucted/rehabilitated 20 judicial facilities. An additional 9 facilities are on target to be completed by the end of July. Monitoring of remaining justice sector construction projects continues; a team recently traveled nationwide to evaluate progress. The monitoring team visited the Paktia Provincial Appeals Court, Balkh Provincial Integrated Prosecutor and Ministry of Justice (MoJ) Facility, Ghazni Provincial Integrated Prosecutor and MoJ Facility, and Kandahar Provincial Integrated Prosecutor and MoJ Facility. In addition, USAID continues work on the design of a provincial judicial facility in Kapisa province.

USAID representatives visited numerous districts to assess construction/rehabilitation options for integrated facilities as part of the Afghanistan Stabilization Program. In addition, USAID conducted local meetings, resulting in the identification of 20 possible projects.

Elections, Political Parties and Media

The second advanced political party media training concluded on June 8, with an additional six parties receiving certificates. Program highlights included the second of four press conferences, in which party representatives organize and participate in weekly discussions of a different issue. Also, as part of the training, participants visit Internews and Pajhwok news agencies to gain experience in writing, editing, and producing various media messages. This provides a much-needed understanding of the best ways to present brief and clear messages to the media. The third of four groups commenced training on June 13. Six political party representatives will receive training on how to best present their party’s platform to the media. Preparation’s are underway for the Center for International Journalism’s national journalist training on campaign and elections coverage. The program aims to train approximately 600 people over three and a half months, and will produce a minimum of 300 stories in Pashto, Dari, Urdu and English for submission to news agencies.

The Afghan Joint Electoral Management Body (JEMB), co-funded by USAID, recently kicked off a one-month voter registration period throughout the country. Thirty thousand people were registered or re-registered within the first day.

Land Titling Team Provides Legal Assistance

USAID’s Land Titling Team provided legal assistance on property rights issues to residents of District 7 in Kabul. Residents have requested and received legal assistance on issues including property partition among heirs, mortgage and the legal procedure for obtaining formal deed.

Using aerial photography, the Titling Team has completed delineation of 254 parcels of land, including footpaths, mosques, schools, and boundaries of 244 residential houses in District 7. The delineation process involved the full participation of community members. In addition to its usefulness for planning purposes, delineating boundaries with the consent and agreement of concerned residents addresses both actual and potential disagreements relating to property boundaries, which is the main cause of dispute in the pilot neighborhoods. In instances where the team could not resolve boundary or ownership issues through negotiation and mediation, cases were referred to the shura. Thus far, three cases have been referred for resolution by the shura.

In addition, legal analysis of laws and practices pertaining to informal settlements, land titling and registration has been completed. Further study on titling issues pertaining to state-owned enterprise excess land and other necessary areas are planned.

Security Incidents

Number of Hostile Attacks: During this reporting period, June 21 - June 29, 2005, there were 11 hostile attacks resulting in 14 deaths and five injuries.

USAID Related: During this reporting period, there were three hostile attacks directly affecting USAID related projects and/or staff.

Election Related: In this reporting period, there have been 12 incidents related to the upcoming parliamentary elections. They include the killing of a candidate, threats to female candidates, threats and intimidation of election workers, and destruction of voter registration kits and voter registration sites.

Last Attacks: On the evening of Thursday, June 23, 2005, confirmed media reports state that Mohammad Wali, a prominent parliamentary candidate for the September elections, was killed in Uruzgan Province (he is reported to have been attacked by people affiliated to the Taliban).

**ANSO Security Updates began Sept 2004