USAID Field Report Afghanistan Apr 2002

Originally published
United States Agency for International Development
Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance
Office of Transition Initiatives

Program Description

USAID/OTI's program goal is to support the process of recovery, rehabilitation and political development in post-conflict Afghanistan. Working with a number of local and international partners, OTI has begun a program to build citizen confidence in the progress of political development, empower citizens to address basic community needs, and build an alliance between legitimate government structures and citizens. In addition OTI supports efforts to increase news and information about the Loya Jirga process and to strengthen independent media. OTI's estimated budget for FY2002 is $16,500,000.

Country Situation

The security situation remained tenuous in several areas of the country. On April 3, the government rounded up hundreds in what it said was a raid to stop a coup from overthrowing the interim administration. On April 7, Western press reports said two rockets landed near the base of the International Security Assistance Force in Kabul. Then, on April 9, A bomb exploded just 30 meters from a car carrying Mohammed Fahim, a former Northern Alliance general, now Afghanistan's Interim Defense Minister. USAID/OFDA situation reports in April list dozens of security incidents reported by the UN, NGOs, and U.S. troops. Compounding these security incidents were natural disasters such as flooding and locust swarms.

After 29 years in exile, Mohammad Zaher Shah returned to Afghanistan as an ordinary citizen. The popular 87-year old ex-monarch ruled Afghanistan for 40 years, and will convene the upcoming Loya Jirga in June to select Afghanistan's next government. While his presence may boost Karzai's power and offset that of former Northern Alliance leaders, it is unclear what real role he will play. Also in April, President Bush compared the effort to rebuild Afghanistan to the Marshall Plan that helped Europe recover from World War II, "We are working hard in Afghanistan: We are clearing minefields. We are rebuilding roads. We're improving medical care." (USA Today, 4/19/02).

The U.S. Military Civil Affairs office in Afghanistan is currently spending approximately $2 million on various reconstruction projects. OTI and other USAID staff meet weekly with members of the U.S. Military Civil Affairs office, to review potential projects for possible collaboration.

The first phase of the Loya Jirga process began in April with dozens of districts convening to select representatives. These representatives began meeting later in the month to select their district's delegation to the Loya Jirga, which is to be held in Kabul in mid-June. It is expected that all 381 of the country's districts will choose over 1,000 Afghans to attend the Loya Jirga. An additional 450 seats are to be reserved for various other Afghan institutions and groups. The first woman district representative was selected in Balkh Province.

OTI Highlights

A. Narrative Summary

In April, OTI focused on the start up of the SWIFT (Support Which Implements Fast Transition) contract office, as well as hiring additional staff for the International Organizations for Migration (IOM) Afghanistan Transition Initiative (ATI) field offices. OTI staff traveled to Herat to monitor IOM-ATI's program start-up and coordinate activities with the local U.S. Civil Affairs officers. OTI and Food For Peace (FFP) staff jointly reviewed a number of Quick Impact Projects identified by the local Coalition Humanitarian Liaison Center (CHLC), the local government in coordination with local communities, and the International Organization for Migration - Afghanistan Transition Initiative (IOM-ATI). OTI and FFP also organized an information meeting between USAID, NGOs interested in undertaking road/bridge projects, CHLC members, and the local government. One road in particular, the Herat to Bala Morghab road, was repeatedly identified as a priority given the large numbers of returnees using the road, as well as humanitarian supplies being delivered on the road.

Also in April, OTI began preparing for the upcoming Loya Jirga by exploring ways in which USAID could have an immediate impact. With funds transferred from the USAID Central Asia Task Force, OTI supported a consultant to work with the UN on Loya Jirga operations. Finally, OTI continued to provide small grants to increase the interim Afghan government's capacity to address immediate reconstruction and stabilization needs.

OTI signed the following 21 small grants during the current reporting period:

Relief International Rehabilitation of Dost Mohammed Elementary School in Kabul 1,000 girls and boys
Mariam Lyceum School Rehabilitation of Mariam Lyceum School in Kabul 7,200 boys and girls
Tarakheyl School Rehabilitation of Tarakheyl School in Kabul 500 girls, 110 villagers working on project
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Equipment capacity support for the Ministry 220 ministry employees
Radio Afghanistan Purchase and installation of satellite communications equipment (V-SAT), through Lyman Brothers The AIA, Loya Jirga, and people of Afghanistan
Radio Afghanistan Purchase of satellite time for short-wave transmission of radio signal, through Merlin UK The AIA, Loya Jirga, and people of Afghanistan
Ministry of Education Rehabilitation of Dowlat-Abad Primary School in Mazar 170 boys and girls
Ministry of Education and Min. of Planning Rehabilitation of Agriculture Vocational Institute in Mazar 300 students
Ministry of Education Construction of 10 new classrooms in Hashin Barat School, Mazar 3104 female students, 90 teachers
Loya Jirga Commission Media Production Assistance for the Loya Jirga Radio spots produced will be broadcast nationwide
Ariana Rehabilitation of the Ariana School for women and girls in Logar 200 girls and women
Ministry of Ag. and Livestock Rehabilitation of Kindergarten to enable women to return to work in the Ministry of Ag. and Livestock 200 children, and their mothers
Ministry of Ag. and Livestock Water supply for the Ministry of Ag. and Livestock The Ministry and public
Ministry of Ag. and Livestock Electrical Supply for the Ministry of Ag. and Livestock The Ministry and public
Ministry of Ag. and Livestock Telephone connection for the Ministry of Ag. and Livestock The Ministry and public
Ministry of Education Donation of Student's Desks and Chairs for schools, Herat 9,000 male and female students
Wazir Fatikhan High School Rehabilitation of Wazir Fatikhan High School, Herat 1,400 male students, and 600 female students
Hazerat Omar Faruq High School Construction of Hazerat Omar Faruq High School Extension, Herat 3,500 students
Sultan High School Construction of Sultan High School, Herat 5,000 students
Jami High School Construction of Jami High School Extension, Herat 2,958 students
University of Kabul In-Kind donation of Student's desks to Engineering Faculty 500 students

B. Grants Activity Summary

Program Category
Good Governance
Civil Society
Community Infrastructure

C. Indicators of Success

This month, OTI funded a number of visible, high impact projects that had been identified as priorities by the interim government, local communities within Kabul, and in three other major urban centers (Herat, Khandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif).

OTI worked closely with the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Officer to draft press releases for new projects and with the U.S. Ambassador to attend a public signing ceremony for grants to the Ministry of Agriculture. By publicly announcing activities, a larger number of Afghans were made aware of both the work of the U.S. Government and Karzai's Afghanistan Interim Administration. OTI established greater credibility for the U.S. Government's work in Mazar and Herat by beginning school reconstruction projects there. A survey of over 700 Afghans in January indicated that besides security concerns, most surveyed viewed education as one of their priorities. The rehabilitation of schools and other priority infrastructure projects shows an immediate peace dividend to Afghans.


During the month of May, OTI will:

  • focus on providing media support to the Loya Jirga;

  • hire a local program officer (through the SWIFT contract);

  • ensure that new projects that support the new government (AIA) in Kabul are made public;

  • monitor the results of the first Internews journalist training in Kabul.
For more information, please contact:

In Washington, contact Chris O'Donnell at 202-712-0174, or Karma Lively at 202-712-5755 or

In Afghanistan, contact Miguel Reabold,