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Afghanistan
Week 48 27 November 2012

Review

Comprehensive Information on Complex Crises

INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Economic Development Governance & Rule of Law Security & Force Protection Social & Strategic Infrastructure

This document provides an overview of developments in Afghanistan from 13 – 26 November 2012, with hyper-links to source material highlighted in blue and underlined in the text. For more information on the topics below or other issues pertaining to events in Afghanistan, contact the members of the Afghanistan Team, or visit our website at www.cimicweb.org/cmo/afg.

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►Clicking the links in this list will take you to the appropriate section.

Land planted with poppies increases by 20% and production fells by a third. Businesspeople start to remove assets from Afghanistan as 2014 approaches. Pakistani authorities last week released a group of Taliban prisoners. Election officials will be reshuffled at the provincial level to prevent possible fraud. The US an Afghanistan launch talks on their Bilateral Security Agreement. Sectarian fights leave one student dead and 28 others wounded in Kabul universities. Construction sector suffers the upcoming withdrawal of foreign troops. Afghan women use mobile phones to become literate.

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Economic Development

Steven A. Zyck ► steve.zyck@cimicweb.org

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CFC publications are independently produced by Desk Officers and do not reflect NATO or ISAF policies or positions of any other organisation.
The CFC is part of NATO Allied Command Operations.

he annual opium survey of Afghanistan found that the amount of land planted with poppies increased by twenty per cent this year but that the total amount of production actually fell by a third due to crop disease and harsh weather, according to The Guardian. The survey, which was conducted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), found that Afghans planted more land with poppies this year due to the high market price for opium. In addition, some Afghans turned to poppy cultivation out of concern that they will need cash or poppy resin – which can easily be transported and sold – in the event that security deteriorates in Afghanistan as greater numbers of foreign troops withdraw. “People are still hedging for an insecure future, so there is lots of speculation. Prices quietened in recent months but still are double what the normal economic price should be,” according Jean-Luc Lemahieu, head of UNODC in Afghanistan. Lemahieu further indicated that poppy prices will likely remain high in the coming years, thus encouraging more farmers to begin growing the crop. The economic impact of the on-going transition process also continued to receive media attention. Afghan and Afghan-American businesspeople are beginning to remove assets from Afghanistan as 2014 approaches, according to CBS News. Similarly, Pajhwok Afghan News reported that Afghanistan’s Central Bank has identified at least USD 3 billion which has been smuggled illegally out of Afghanistan over an unspecified period of time. Both Pajhwok and the Voice of America (VOA) News claim that the issue of smuggling has led to the devaluation of Afghanistan’s currency, the afghani. Pajhwok says that Afghanistan’s Attorney General’s Office (AGO) is considering prosecuting moneychangers and traders to try and prevent further capital flight. The latest Asia Foundation “Survey of the Afghan People” found that Afghans are increasingly concerned about the economy, according to the US Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Of those Afghans surveyed, 27% said that unemployment is Afghanistan’s largest problem, sur-

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For further information, contact: Afghanistan Team Leader rainer.gonzalez@cimicweb.org The Afghanistan Team afghanistan@cimicweb.org

passed only by insecurity (28%) and closely followed by corruption (25%). Andrew Wilder, director of Afghanistan and Pakistan programmes at the United States Institute of Peace, told PBS: “We’ll see a sharp reduction in foreign aid as troops decrease, so we’ll see a drop in those sectors as well. If I were an Afghan, I’d be concerned about jobs moving forward.” A number of articles regarding Kabul Bank, Afghanistan’s embattled lender, also emerged. The New York Times reported that the trial of more than twenty people involved in the Kabul Bank crisis began in Kabul on 14 November. Defendants include the bank’s former chairman, Sherkhan Farnood, and its former chief executive, Khalilluah Frozi, both of whom testified early in the trial. Farnood and Frozi both reportedly attempted to place the majority of the blame on the other for the loss of USD 900 million from Kabul Bank. According to Tolo News, Farnood also made accusations against Hassan Fahim, the brother of Afghanistan’s First Vice President; Farnood says that Fahim took USD 178 million from the bank. Meanwhile, Frozi implicated Mahmoud Karzai, a partial owner of the bank and a brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The New York Times noted that the outcomes of the Kabul Bank trial may have lasting implications for foreign donors’ willingness to finance the Afghan government. A number of representatives of the international community told The New York Times that donors may withhold funding for the Afghan government in the years ahead if the trial is not perceived as credible and if key figures in the banking scandal are not held accountable. One un-named official stated: “This is absolutely one of the two or three big-picture issues in Afghanistan today, along with the security and civilian transition. If this process is not credible, it puts into question a lot of the international commitments made to Afghanistan going forward.” In closely related news, Noorullah Delawari, the head of Afghanistan’s Central Bank, says that New Kabul Bank – which was established to oversee some of Kabul Banks’s remaining assets and functions – will be sold through a competitive bidding process, according to Tolo News. “Myself and the head of the Finance Ministry’s Treasury department went to Dubai to seek foreign interest in New Kabul Bank. We provided all sort of information and conditions to officials in Dubai,” Delawari told reporters. New Kabul Bank is fully owned by the Afghan government after Kabul Bank was placed in receivership in 2010 following a massive government bailout valued at around USD 850 million. A number of other economic development issues, which are summarised below, emerged during the past two weeks.  Some in Afghanistan are concerned that US sanctions against Iran could imperil Afghanistan’s fuel supply, much of which comes from Iran, according to VOA News. Afghan Deputy Commerce Minister Muzamel Shinwari stated: “Now when the fuel is coming under the sanctions, it is creating a bigger problem for us […] And if we stop bringing it from Iran, it will create an economic crisis in the country, which will lead to the political crisis, which will lead to unrest in the region.”  A consortium of companies led by the Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) is hoping to win the rights to the Shaida deposit in Afghanistan, which is estimated to contain 4.34 million tonnes of copper, according to India Times. The consortium says that they have received positive feedback from Afghan officials. The winning bidder will reportedly be announced by March 2013.  The United Nations organised a conference in Mazar-e Sharif on improving trade linkages between Afghanistan and the Central Asian republics, according to Wadsam. Participants proposed the creation of a trade centre in northern Afghanistan which would focus on linkages with Central Asia. Balkh province’s governor, Atta Mohammad Noor, said that Balkh would be an ideal location for such a centre.  Officials with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) tell Wadsam that saffron is replacing opium poppies in some parts of Nangarhar province. MAIL recently implemented a pilot saffron cultivation project in fourteen districts in Nangarhar. Farmers reportedly stand to earn USD 1,200 per acre of saffron as opposed to only USD 400 per acre of opium poppies.  According to Tolo News, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told an audience in Singapore that the US government is “focused on shoring up Afghanistan’s economic future, because we know that, without that, stability and security will certainly be elusive”. Clinton stated that regional economic cooperation and the re-establishment of the ancient Silk Road are key parts of the US government’s economic development efforts in Afghanistan and its region.

Governance & Rule of Law

Stefanie Nijssen ► stefanie.nijssen@cimicweb.org

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fghanistan’s Deputy Minister of Hajj Daee-ul-Haq Abed has told a gathering of lawmakers and members of civil society that some parts of Afghanistan’s Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) law are not in accordance with Islamic law and will therefore not be enforced by religious leaders and clerics, reports Tolo News. Abed did not elaborate on what particular parts of the law go against Islam but his comments drew heavy criticism from lawmakers, who threatened the ministry with legal action if the law was not enforced. The EVAW law was enacted in 2009 but its enforcement and implementation were noted to be weak at best. This comes as the Afghanistan Independent Research Commission reported that violence against women increased by 28 per cent during the first seven months of this year, states Ariana News. A number of Afghan lawmakers have put together a draft law specifically aimed at outlining punishments for those found guilty of child rape, says Tolo News. Lawmakers have also called on justice institutions to apply Sharia law to those who are convicted of raping children, adding that the only solution to bring down the climbing rate of reported child rapes is to enforce the law and instil harsh penalties. This comes as UN officials expressed concern about the increasing incidence of child abuse in northern Afghanistan.

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In what is considered a good-faith gesture, Pakistani authorities last week released a group of Taliban prisoners, writes US National Public Radio. The prisoners release came at the end of a three-day meeting in Islamabad between Pakistani officials and a delegation from the Afghan High Peace Council (HPC). Reporting on the number of released Taliban members is inconsistent. While the AP noted a total of nine prisoners were released, Press Trust of India is reporting that four additional Taliban members were freed ahead of the HPC visit as a confidence-building measure. While the HPC did not identify the freed prisoners, an Afghan official familiar with the peace process gave the Associated Press a list of eight names; the ninth Taliban member’s identity is unknown (see Figure 1). Upon return to Kabul, the HPC delegation said that the Pakistan governFigure 1. Identities of released Taliban prisoners ment would also consider freeing Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the former head of the Taliban’s political and military affairs, Dawn reported. Name Role in the Taliban The decision to release Taliban prisoners has reportedly prompted members of the Taliban leadership council, known as Quetta Shura, to review Nooruddin Turabi Former Taliban justice minister the Afghan peace process, states Tolo News. Meanwhile, Human Rights Special Assistant to Taliban Watch has spoken out against HPC chief Salahuddin Rabbani’s anJahangirwal leader Mullah Omar nouncement that Taliban officials who join peace negotiations with the Afghan government will receive immunity from prosecution and will Qutub Taliban leader have their names removed from the UN sanctions, states Asian News Former Taliban governor of International. Abdul Salaam Baghlan province President Hamid Karzai has ordered Afghan forces to take control of Taliban’s director of the cusBagram detention facility in Parwan province after accusing US officials Maulvi Matiullah toms house in Kabul of violating an agreement to hand over the facility to Afghan control, says an official statement obtained by The New York Times. The move Taliban’s former governor of Mahamad comes after what President Karzai said was the expiration of a twoKunduz province month grace period agreed with the US government. According to the Ayed Saduddin statement, US forces are reportedly violating earlier agreements by conFormer Taliban commander Agha tinuing to house newly captured prisoners, some of whom are allegedly deemed innocent. However, US officials say the established agreement is Taliban’s former deputy minisAllah Dad not authoritative in the handling of new prisoners captured by US forces. ter of communication It is not clear whether there will be any immediate practical change in control of the facility, which holds up to 3,000 prisoners. The United Nations has voiced grave concern over what it called the sudden execution of fourteen prisoners in Kabul over the past few days, states Pajhwok Afghan News. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said: “Under international law and Afghanistan’s own treaty obligations, the death penalty must be reserved for the most serious crimes and only applied after the most rigorous judicial process.” Pillay said Afghanistan’s justice system relied primarily on confessions, some of which are obtained through torture. President Karzai signed off on the executions, which happened in two phases, earlier last week, officials tell Khaama Press. The prisoners were convicted of crimes including murder, rape, kidnapping and treason. Meanwhile, an Afghan soldier found guilty in the killing of five French troops in Kapisa province in January may be amongst a third group of criminals that President Karzai has approved for execution, reports Dawn. A military court earlier rejected an appeal by Afghan army soldier Abdul Sabor who was sentenced to death for the insider attack, an official told Agence France-Presse. In related news, twenty prisoners that had been sentenced to serve long prison terms in Bagram and Pol-i-Charkhi detention facilities were released on court orders on 21 November, writes Ariana News. The release follows harsh criticisms from human rights organisations, which had asserted that the Afghan government had been deficient in its judicial responsibilities by issuing maximum punishment to all who had been accused of having association with armed opposition groups. The Meshrano Jirga, or upper house of parliament, has rejected a proposition that would see members of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) be appointed by the President based on the recommendations of a new special panel, states Pajhwok. This new panel would include lawmakers and a representative from both the Supreme Court and civil society. Also controversial within the law is the inclusion of two foreign experts on the ECC who would be appointed by the president on the recommendation of the panel. The proposition for the panel was included as part of a new law on the composition, duties and powers of the IEC and ECC which had already been approved by the Wolesi Jirga, or lower house, last month. While the draft law on IEC and ECC authority is currently under review by the Meshrano Jirga, a draft electoral law has not yet made it to parliament and is still waiting to be vetted by the Ministry of Justice. A number of other articles related to governance and rule of law appeared this past week, including those summarised below.  Three members of the Afghan Local Police (ALP) in Nuristan province reportedly robbed a bank, provincial governor Mohammad Tamim Nuristani told Khaama Press. The ALP members, who were charged with protecting the bank, took AFN 10-13 million (USD 192-250,000). Two of the robbers have been apprehended, but the third is still at-large. Meanwhile, police forces have also reportedly arrested five individuals on suspicion of attacking a branch of the Afghanistan Central Bank in Nangarhar province, states a separate Khaama Press article.

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 The US government has designated Taliban leader Mullah Naim Barich as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker or “kingpin” in southern Afghanistan, reports Khaama Press. US officials said Barich is involved in production and export of drugs and opium from Helmand province at all levels. The kingpin designation prohibits US persons from conducting financial or commercial transactions with Barich and also freezes any assets he may have under US jurisdiction.  ABC News reveals that Taliban spokesperson Qari Yousuf Ahmedi has accidentally disclosed his entire email distribution list by failing to use the blind-carbon-copy function thus keeping his email addresses private. The list of more than 400 recipients, included mostly of journalists, but also includes an address appearing to belong to a provincial governor, a legislator, several academics, activists, an Afghan consultative committee and a representative from militant group Hizb-e Islami.

Security & Force Protection

afghanistan@cimicweb.org

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he US and Afghan governments have formally launched talks on their Bilateral Security Agreement, reports Khaama Press. The round of talks will include discussions on the level of US troops remaining in Afghanistan after 2014. Senior US officials tell The Wall Street Journal that the US government is considering keeping 10,000 US troops in Afghanistan when formal combat ends in 2014. According to officials, this figure is based partly upon an informal recommendation made by General Allen, commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, in which he advocates for maintaining a force between 6,000 and 15,000 US troops to conduct training and counterterrorism efforts. While officials and experts disagree on the size of a post-2014 force, Afghan officials said President Hamid Karzai is willing to accept a US troop presence post-2014, as long as key demands, such as bringing US troops under Afghan jurisdiction, are met. The Clerics Council of Afghanistan has condemned a suicide bombing that took place on 25 November, saying that such actions are prohibited under Islam, according to statement obtained by Khaama Press. The statement also added that those who carry out immolations in the name of jihad are committing an unforgivable sin and will not enter paradise. The Clerics Council had previously received criticism from lawmakers and civil society groups for remaining silent over suicide attacks. In addition, the Council remarked that those encouraging others to perpetrate suicide attacks will not escape the condemnation. The Grand Mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Sheikh Abdul Aziz backed the declaration of the Council, which was welcomed by the Afghan government. The Afghan government has closed down three major public universities in Kabul for ten days after sectarian violence left one student dead and 28 others wounded, reports the Associated Press. The clashes began when students commemorating Ashura – a Shi’ite religious day of mourning – were prevented by their Sunni peers from celebrating at university dormitories, both Shi’ite and Sunni students said, according to The Wall Street Journal. The students say they were being discriminated against for their religious beliefs and called in reinforcements from nearby ethnic Hazara communities, which are predominantly Shi’ite. Afghanistan’s Shi’ite minorities have gained significant freedom since the Taliban were ousted from power in 2001. In other security-related news from Afghanistan and its region:  Two Afghan civilians were killed and ninety others were wounded following a suicide bomb blast in Wardak province, reports Khaama. The Taliban claimed responsibility of the attack saying it was a revenge for the execution of its members by the Afghan government. The incident took place in Maidan Shahr central city and the targets were Afghan and coalition security forces.  French troops ended their last combat mission in Afghanistan by withdrawing from Kapisa province, says Defencetalk. 400 soldiers left the French base in Kapisa after a departure ceremony. There are still 2,200 French soldiers in Afghanistan, 700 of them will leave at the end of the year and the remaining will stay in Kabul organising the final departure by the summer of 2013.  Seventeen Afghan civilians were killed following a blast in Farah province, reports Khaama Press. The majority of the victims were ordinary Afghans on their way to attend a party. Although the Farah provincial governor accused the insurgency, the Taliban have not yet claimed responsibility for the attack.  Pakistan, Afghanistan and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) signed a border agreement, reports The Tribune. During the meeting, the participants reviewed the ongoing military operations in Afghanistan and the adjoining tribal areas, and discussed the transition of responsibility from ISAF to Afghanistan National Security Forces in 2014 and beyond. The three parties agreed to continue cooperation for enduring success, peace and stability on both sides of the border.

Social & Strategic Infrastructure

Rainer Gonzalez ► rainer.gonzalez@cimicweb.org

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he construction sector in Afghanistan is starting to suffer as a result of the upcoming withdrawal of foreign troops, reports a Wadsam article. One of the most heavily affected areas is the city of Jalalabad in Nangarhar province, an area once known as the hub of the country’s military-industrial complex. In this region, hundreds of construction and heavy equipment companies have been particularly impacted by the prospective security transition. Shafiq Ahmand Sidiqi, the owner of a hydraulic platform rental company, says: “In the past two months nobody has rented a single piece of my machinery. The foreigners are leaving, and the money is drawing down.” Ghulam Ali Danish Kamal, executive manager of the Afghan Builders Association, say the decline of the investment started earlier this year. At the peak of the construction boom, Afghan construction companies numbered around 10,000; currently, there are only 3,000 such companies in existence, according to Kamal. Afghan government officials are more optimistic. Wafiullah 27 November 2012 Page 4

Iftikhar, president of the Afghanistan Investment Support Agency, said: “We do accept that there has been a dramatic reduction in the number of projects and contracts awarded by NATO forces in 2012, but […] we are hopeful that in the near future the construction sector would boom once again, since the international community has pledged billions of dollars to spend on infrastructural and economic development projects.” Kamal added that one of their biggest concerns in Afghanistan is the financial and investment drainage as “a lot of people are taking their money out of Afghanistan and investing in other countries.” Investment by the United States has dropped from USD 159 million in 2011 to USD 126 million in 2012; in 2013, this will drop further to USD 96 million, according to the article. During the last two weeks, there have been several developments in the telecommunications sector in Afghanistan. According to Pajhwok Afghan News, the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology (MoTIT) issued Wimax technology licenses to three private firms – Neda Telecom, Ariana and Global Network Services – for a value of USD 5 million. According to Amirzai Sangin, Minister of Telecommunications and Information Technology, eighty per cent of Afghanistan’s population will have access to Wimax technology, which provides internet at faster speeds, in the next two years. The MoTIT announced the semi-governmentowned Afghan Telecom Company will provide GSM and 3G services to the remaining fifteen per cent of the population to whom the other private companies are not offering these services, says Pajhwok. These Afghans are living in areas where there is no cellular network and 3G connection due to security issues. The Afghan Telecom Company will contract a Chinese company to help bridge this gap at a cost of USD 32 million. The contract includes the installation of 700 mobile-phone towers to provide 24-hour service. In related news, an article from Agence-France Press describes how women are using mobile phones to become more literate. A new literacy programme developed by an Afghan IT company Paiwastoon enables women to use the mobile phone to engage in audio-video lessons and learn subjects such as Dari, Pashto and mathematics. The phone, which is called Ustad Mobile (Mobile Teacher), was developed with USD 80,000 in financial support from the United States Agency for International Development and is distributed to students free-of-charge. The programme’s target is to increase the literacy rate for women, which currently stands at only 12.5 per cent. The application can be installed for free and the lessons are available at the Ministry of Education website. Humanitarian Update The United States Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has announced they are offering a special relief reintegration package for the voluntary return of Afghan refugees during November and December 2012, reports DAWN. This package included USD 150, free transport and household items. UNHCR’s Quetta office claims they have repatriated more than 16,000 refugees during the current year. In addition, the Afghan government has set up 63 towns in 19 provinces to facilitate the rehabilitation of returning refugees. Charles Lynych, UNCHR Head in Balochistan, asked Afghan refugees to play their role in building and developing the country. He warned that those who decided to return to Pakistan would not be provided with any assistance.

Peter Crowley, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representative in Afghanistan, has stated that protecting the rights of children and investing in children’s education and healthcare are the main considerations for the transition in 2014 and beyond, according to Wadsam. He said: “We must be able to continue to have hope in the current generation of (Afghan) children and to invest in helping provide them with a better future, because we believe that by investing in education and healthcare and access to clean water, protection of children’s rights, we can help ensure a stable transition for Afghanistan.” More than 4.2 million of children, sixty per cent of them girls, are still deprived of education due to security problems, lack of donor support and cultural perceptions. A number of other social and strategic infrastructure issues emerged this past week, including those summarised below.  The government of Japan will invest USD 200 million to reconstruct the Kabul International Airport, highlights Wadsam. The project will increase the airport capacity by expanding the terminal, renovating the security tower and increasing the number of entrance gates to the airport.  The South Asian Association Regional Cooperation organised a ten-day training on climate change and water resources, reports Wadsam. During the course, Ministry of Energy and Water officials pointed out that Afghanistan has a capacity of 57 million cubic meters of surface water and 18 billion of cubic meters of ground water but the country only utilises 31%. At the same time, only 50% of Afghanistan’s population has access to safe drinking water.  Nangarhar Water and Energy Director Mohibullah Momand has urged the Afghan government to provide security to the Surobi district in Kabul province in order to facilitate the completion of Naghulu Dam project, says Wadsam.  The historical Jumah Mosque in Herat city, the fourth largest mosque in the world, will be renovated thanks to the donations made by Afghan traders, reports Pajhwok. Herat provincial government officials say the mosque started to crumble and requires urgent renovations. Similarly, Wadsam informs that Afghanistan’s Buddhist site near the Aynak copper mine project in Logar province will be restored. Buddhists have launched a global campaign to keep the site protected from the Aynak copper mine project construction works, which are scheduled to begin next month.

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Recent Readings & Resources         “Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan Newsletter: October 2012”, MACCA, November 2012. “Uruzgan Province Flash Flood: Final Report”, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, November 2012. “Afghanistan Price Bulleting”, FEWS NET and World Food Programme, November 2012. “Peacebuilding Efforts of Women from Afghanistan and Iraq: Lessons in Transition”, United States Institute of Peace, November/December 2012. “Lessons in War: Military Use of Schools and Other Education Institution During Conflict”, GCPEA, November 2012. “U.S. Embassy Kabul Gender Strategy”, US Embassy, November 2012. “Afghanistan Order of Battle”, Institute for the Study of War, November 2012. “Afghanistan Opium Survey 2012: Summary Findings”, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, November 2012.

If you are a CFC account-holder and would like a publication to appear here, please send all relevant details to Afghanistan@cimicweb.org. The CFC is not obliged to print information regarding publications it receives, and the CFC retains the right to revise notices for clarity and appropriateness. Any notices submitted for publication in the “Afghanistan Review” newsletter should be relevant to the CFC’s mission as a knowledge management and information sharing institution.

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