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Afghanistan
Week 25 18 June 2013

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 03 – 18 June 2013, with hyperlinks 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 by visiting www.cimicweb.org/cmo/afg.

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

World Bank will continue funding the Safety Nets and Pensions Project. Fifty-seven per cent of Afghan private firms are optimistic about their future. A Taliban leader signalled willingness to participate in the peace process. The US Congress is poised to vote on a visa programme for Afghan interpreters. NATO pledges to launch a training mission called “Resolute Support” after 2014. UN reports increase of 24 and 27 per cent in civilian and child casualties respectively. The World Bank and the Islamic Development Bank will fund the CASA-1000. Hazara asylum seekers drowned near Christmas Island.

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The Civil-Military Fusion Centre (CFC) is an information and knowledge management organisation focused on improving civilmilitary interaction, facilitating information sharing and enhancing situational awareness through the CimicWeb portal and our biweekly and monthly publications. CFC products are based upon and link to open-source information from a wide variety of organisations, research centres and media outlets. However, the CFC does not endorse and cannot necessarily guarantee the accuracy or objectivity of these sources.

Economic Development

Matthew Bennett►matthew.bennett@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.

n 13 June, the World Bank approved a USD 12.5 million grant to finance the continuation of a project aimed at providing safety nets to Afghanistan’s poorest citizens and to improve public pension schemes, describes a World Bank press release. Initiated in 2009, the Safety Nets and Pensions Project has provided more than 16,000 of the poorest families and approximately 80,000 individuals with cash assistance. This additional financing will enable the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs, and Disabled to expand upon the progress made so far. Robert Saum, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan stated “Afghanistan has made promising progress in building institutional systems to better administer its pension schemes. […] We are happy to continue supporting Afghanistan’s efforts to manage its social safety net programs more efficiently, so that poor people can better withstand economic and weather-related hardships and benefit from economic growth.” In other funding news, the Afghan Investment Support Agency (AISA) has stated that Afghanistan needs USD 200 million in infrastructure projects to develop industrial parks, reports Tolo News. AISA said they are in talks with international donors in hopes of securing the funding. According to officials, more than thirty areas have been selected for the construction of industrial parks across eighteen provinces. Currently, there are twelve operational industrial parks in the country. According to a report issued by the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) on 06 June, 57 per cent of Afghan private firms are optimistic about their future in Afghanistan, says Wadsam. Nine hundred officials at small, mid-sized, and large organisations were interviewed for the survey. Of the respondents, 62 per cent maintained that they had no major financial problems, eleven per cent stated they had minor financial troubles and 22 per cent that they faced serious financial difficulties. Eighty per cent of those surveyed said that energy deficiency was the main obstacle for their business while the remaining twenty per cent reported that they had sufficient energy to run operations. About 78 per cent of those interviewed stated that corruption was the biggest problem for businesses in Afghanistan after insecurity. Only 22 per cent stated that the situation was improving.

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

It is reported that as of 11 June the Afghan Ministry of Justice has not sent the draft of a new law regarding mines to the Lower House of Parliament despite having promised to do so, reports Tolo News. Strong advocates of the new mining law, including the ACCI, the AISA and the Ministry of Mines, regard it as “vital for the economic development of Afghanistan.” Regarding the delay, MP Assadullah Sharifi is quoted as stating, “Mines are national assets. We demand from the Ministry of Justice to send it as soon as possible. Mining sector has always been a big issue for our country.” In addition to this development, insecurity at the Mes Aynak copper mine in central Logar province threatens to undermine preparation and development activities. As a result, workers employed by the Metallurgical Corporation of China threaten to cease working if security conditions do not improve, according to Wadsam. Though mining was supposed to begin this year, vital infrastructure still needs to be approved and developed, adds McClatchy News. Some mining experts now expect that the start of mining at the facility is at least five years away. Insecurity is seen as one of the largest hurdles to economic development in Afghanistan, especially as foreign forces pull out of the country in 2014. Afghan officials and Qatari businessmen signed two agreements on 04 June that signalled a readiness on their part to invest in Afghanistan’s mining, agriculture and health sectors, reports Pajhwok Afghan News. In addition to signing the business agreements, the Qatari delegation, headed by Sheikh Faisal Bin Qasim Althani, also met with President Karzai and other Afghan governmental ministers. AISA spokesman Rohullah Ahmadzai would not discuss the details of the agreements signed but did state that one pertained to the housing sector in Afghanistan and the other to trade. An Afghan delegation of government and private sector representatives is expected to travel to Qatar within the next two weeks for further talks related to these agreements. Wafiullah Iftekhat, AISA director, stated that the visit and signing of agreements by the Qatari investors “could be a glorious start in developing the relationship” b etween Afghanistan and Qatar. On 11 June, Afghanistan National Entrepreneurs Day, the National Union of Craftsman called on the central government to allocate more attention to the growth of the Afghan handicrafts business and Afghan industrialists, writes Wadsam. The chairman of the ACCI, Mohammad Qurban Haqj, stated that “the government has failed to fulfil its promises of assisting in the development of Afghanistan’s handicrafts industries in the past three years.” Haqj went on to state that a greater focus on the growth of the handicrafts business, exports, and investments would help support the Afghan economy following an anticipated slow-down in foreign aid following 2014. In addition to this call for economic awareness, the Afghan Insurance Commission (AIC) of the Ministry of Finance is itself currently undertaking a public awareness campaign in an effort to promote and develop an insurance culture among the general public and to institutionalise the field of insurance throughout Afghanistan. The AIC is utilising brochures, billboards and media in order to spread awareness and in the hopes of increasing understanding and motivating a larger segment of the population to purchase various types of insurance in order to alleviate the threat of risk and increase investment within the country. Furthermore, changes have been proposed to the insurance law and will be made official once they have been vetted by university professors and other relevant organisations. Pistachio yields this year in Baghlan province are expected to increase from 140 tonnes in 2011 to 200 tonnes this year, reports Wadsam. Figures were not available for 2012 as many farmers harvested the nuts outside of the government-sanctioned timetable. In further agricultural news, Wadsam also reports that farmers in Kunduz are anticipating that wheat yields will see a 20 per cent improvement this year due to favourable weather and improved farming techniques. The total harvest for last year was 418,000 tonnes of wheat.

Governance & Rule of Law

Katerina Oskarsson►katerina.oskarsson@cimicweb.org

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fghan President Hamid Karzai accused the Pakistani military and intelligence agency of endangering the country’s stability, reports Tolo News. In an interview with Pakistani private television channel Geo, President Karzai stated, “I have no co mplaints against people of Pakistan because they shared their home and food with the Afghans during the ‘Jehad’ years but we seriously have issues with the military and intelligence agency of Pakistan because they are using extremist methods based on religion to destabilise Afghanistan.” The remarks came as the US Secretary of State John Kerry plans to visit India and Pakistan later in June to discuss regional security issues and counterterrorism cooperation with the Pakistani civil and military leaders. The US Congress is poised to vote on the extension of a visa programme for Afghan translators. The outcome will determine whether thousands of current and former interpreters will be eligible for the promised visa package, highlights The Washington Post. This comes after the US State Department recently contended that many interpreters are not eligible for visas since they were recruited by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) instead of directly through the US government. However, US military officials argue that many of the interpreters worked directly for the US military while being subject to frequent threats from the Taliban. As of fall 2012, only 32 of over 5,700 Afghan applicants were able to obtain visas through a programme approved under the 2009 Afghan Allies Protection Act. The act is set to expire in September 2014 unless the US Congress authorises an extension, despite the fact that only a limited number of visas have been approved so far. A former senior official speaking on the condition of anonymity noted “These [Afghan interpreters] are our allies who went out, unarmed, on patrols with our military and now face deadly reprisals from alQaeda and the Taliban.” Mutasim Agha Jan, one of the Taliban leaders who served as finance minister during Mullah Omar’ s regime, indicated that the Taliban are willing to participate in the peace negotiations, reports Tolo News. He further added that the insurgent group does not seek a return of an “Islamic Emirate” in Afghanistan. Speaking to Tolo News in the Turkish capital, Ankara, Agha Jan stated “If all the i nvolved parties honestly and with sincerity put in efforts over peace negotiation, I think, Afghanistan will soon succeed in its peace 18 June 2013 Page 2

mission.” Agha Jan’s comments come after the Taliban ha ve been steadfastly refusing to negotiate with the Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s administration, defaming it as a “puppet government”. Several Afghan political parties agreed to support Anwarul Haq Ahadi, Afghan Minister of Commerce and Industries and the leader of the Afghan Millat party, as their joint candidate in the presidential elections scheduled for April 2014, reports Pajhwok Afghan News. However, Ahadi is not expected to publicly announce his formal candidacy until next month as he continues to muster support among other political groups and tribal elders. General Dostum, Uzbek leader of the Wihdat political party, endorsed the decision to support Ahadi, who served as a political science professor at several universities in the US and was one of the candidates during the 2009 Afghan presidential elections running against the incumbent President Hamid Karzai. After withdrawing from the election race, he endorsed Karzai’s candidacy. Meanwhile, President Karzai and his deputy , Mohammad Qasim Fahim, have been encouraging Afghan political parties to reach a pre-election “national consensus” in order to reduce the number of presidential candidates and ensure a peaceful transfer of power. In related news, Sardar Mohammad Roshan, head of the Right and Justice Party’s executive board, t old Pajhwok that a coalition of 25 political parties has established a coordination council to ensure that the 2014 presidential elections are transparent and free of fraud. In further election-related news, Pajhwok reports that the Afghan coalition of opposition parties accused the Afghan government of attempting to manipulate the upcoming presidential elections by trying to ensure success of its preferred candidate, alleged Abdullah Abdullah, leader of Afghan national Coalition. Meanwhile, on 04 June, hundreds of residents of Kandahar province demanded extension of President Karzai’s term or changes to the Afghan constitution which wou ld allow the re-election of President Karzai for the third time. Both the Afghanistan’s National Journalist Union and Nai, an Afghan media watchdog, denounced recent comments by Abdul Satar Khawasi, a representative from northern Parwan province, calling for Jihad against several media outlets in Afghanistan, reports Tolo News. In reaction to Khawasi’s comments, several Afghan parliamentary members voiced their disagreement, calling ‘Fatwa of Jihad’ against the media illegal. Speaking in the Lower House of the Afghan Parliament, Khawasi contended that he “didn’t declare Jihad against the government and the system, but against the irresponsible media that is working for the foreigner s’ interests and ignoring the welfare of Afghans.” The media watchdog urged the Afghan government to swiftly approve the Media Law and to prevent similar speeches during official sessions of the Parliament in the future. Seddiqullah Tauhidi, media watch manager stated, “Announci ng Jihad against the media is an insult to one of country’s most important sector.” A number of other articles related to governance and rule of law appeared over the past two weeks, including those below:  Afghan President Hamid Karzai has appointed new commissioners to the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) and extended the tenure of the Commission’s current chairman, Seema Samar, for an additional five years, reports Pajhwok. The appointments come after civil society activists have demanded that President Karzai selects independent and experienced experts for AIHRC. The purpose of the commission is to monitor the human rights situation in Afghanistan, investigate human rights abuses, make recommendations to the Afghan government on human rights policies, and assist Afghan victims whose rights have been compromised.  On 09 June, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and a high-level delegation of government officials travelled to Qatar on the occasion of the 10th annual US-Islamic World Forum, reports Khaama Press. During the visit, President Karzai met with Qatari officials to discuss Afghanistan’s peace process and relations between the two countries.  The Taliban announced the release of a Kyrgyz hostage captured in April following a helicopter crash in south-eastern Afghanistan, writes Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. In May, the Taliban released the Turkish nationals but continue to hold the Russian and the Afghan citizens.  Afghan officials announced that two groups comprising an estimated eighteen insurgents joined the peace process in Kunar province “due [to] reconciliation efforts by national directorate of security officials”, reports Khaama Press.  According to a UN press statement, Afghanistan is one of the ten lowest ranking countries at the 2013 Global Peace Index, followed by Somalia, Syria and Iraq.

Security & Force Protection

Francois Van Loven►francois.vanloven@cimicweb.org

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n 05 June, defence ministers from NATO and partner nations endorsed the concepts for a new NATO-led mission to provide training, advice and assistance to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) after 2014, states a NATO press release. According to NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, “the new mission will not be ISAF by another name. It will be different, and be significantly smaller. Its aim will be to train, advise and assist the Afghan forces, not substitute for th em”. Rasmussen explained that the mission will have a regional approach with bases distributed across the country. It will focus on national institutions, such as the security ministries, as well as the corps levels of army and police commands. The strategic focus of the mission assumes that the ANSF would be deprived of the coalition’s close and tactical military support and capabilities in the future, including aerial medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), explains The Washington Post. Officials from the United States, Germany and Italy have already confirmed their participation in the mission, known as “Resolute Support”. The United States would be stationed in the southern and eastern regions, while Germany would keep its troops deployed in the north and Italy in western Afghanistan. US Defense 18 June 2013 Page 3

Secretary Chuck Hagel said that Turkey expressed a willingness to keep its troops in Kabul after 2014, even if Ankara has not made any official pledge. The NATO and US statements did not mention the intentions or potential role of the British forces. NATO and US officials also did not specify the number of personnel allocated to the Alliance’s new mission or whether “Resolute Support” would have a counterterrorism function. Hagel also told the US Congress on 13 June that the negotiations between Afghanistan and the United States on the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) have entered the final phase, covers Pajhwok Afghan News. Although the number of US troops remaining in Afghanistan after 2014 is still unknown, Washington and Kabul have allegedly established several working groups to address various issues, including air-space management, bases, and telecommunications and transit routes. Georgian Defence Minister Irakli Alasania announced on 13 June that Tbilisi had decided to shut down two of its bases in Afghanistan after multiple insurgent attacks targeting the Georgian facilities left ten Georgian servicemen dead over the past four weeks, says RFE/RL. However, Alasania said that Georgia would maintain the same level of troops in the country without providing details on how the Georgian contingent would be accommodated, reports The Washington Post. Further on the Afghan security transition, a joint Afghan-NATO transition board gathered in Kabul on 16 June to prepare the fifth and final phase of the security transition process before officially allowing the ANSF to take over security for the whole country, reports Tolo News. The full takeover is expected to occur on 18 June, adds Tolo News, as the ANSF corps now comprises 350,000 personnel, notes BBC. While the ANSF have been increasingly responsible for security and have been supporting the burden of most military operations, their casualty rate has also increased especially in areas where the coalition has largely pulled-out, says The New York Times. For instance, the ANSF have been conducting autonomous operations against the insurgency in Sangin, Helmand province, claiming the loss of twenty officers so far. On 16 June, the ANSF took over security for the entire Province of Baghlan, previously under German command, says Khaama Press. On 10 June, armed Taliban armed squads launched multiple and coordinated attacks across Afghanistan, targeting several government official buildings, writes The New York Times. Whilst Taliban fighters unsuccessfully attacked the Kabul International Airport (KAIA), other insurgents targeted the Provincial Council in Zabul, leaving nineteen people wounded and an Afghan police officer dead. Although the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks, one Afghan official suspects that the members of the Haqqani network might have been involved. According to Afghan and US officials, Afghan security forces responded with speed and relative proficiency in both attacks. However, Afghan and American officials expect that insurgent attacks will continue to spike as Afghanistan witnesses the international withdrawal while preparing for the forthcoming presidential elections, highlights The Washington Post. Nevertheless, international observers posit that the Taliban and the other insurgent groups lack the necessary manpower and capability to be a strategic threat, adds The Washington Post. The country’s corruption and the weakness of the central government might instead present the biggest security challenge to Afghanistan’s transit ion, according to Afghan officials. Jan Kubis, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, stated that the security situation in the country is deteriorating further as the rates of civilian casualties have increased by 24 per cent this year compared to the same time period in 2012, reports a UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)’s press release. Eighty-four per cent of those casualties were caused by insurgent elements, adds Kubis. The Taliban expressed the willingness to address the issue of civilian casualties with the UN entity, reports The New York Times. Meanwhile, the on-going and indiscriminate violence in Afghanistan left 1,304 children dead in 2012 and this trend is expected to rise in 2013, reports UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Since early 2013, Afghanistan has seen conflictrelated child casualties’ increase by 27 per cent compared to the same period last year. In the aftermath of the last attack on the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) compound in Jalalabad last month, the organisation officially announced that it was partly withdrawing its staff for security reasons, reports Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). Although it still remains unclear how much ICRC personnel had been actually removed, the ICRC ensured that the organisation would carry on providing humanitarian relief to the local population, says Voice of America (VOA). At the same time, Gherardo Pontrandolfi, ICRC head of delegation in Kabul, stated that the ICRC remains committed to Afghanistan, explaining that the current and limited withdrawal was just a temporary measure implemented while the organisation is assessing the security situation in the country, writes Pajhwok.

Social & Strategic Infrastructure

Rainer Gonzalez►rainer.gonzalez@cimicweb.org

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he World Bank (WB) and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) have agreed to invest in the CASA-1000 project, which will transmit 1,300 MW of surplus energy from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to Afghanistan and Pakistan, reports Wadsam. CASA1000 and the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline are the two US-backed flagship projects, but according to an article in The Express Tribune, some experts brand the projects as unfeasible due to security issues in Afghanistan. The CASA-1000 is estimated to cost USD 966 billion and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) was slated to be the major investor, covering forty per cent of the final cost. However, security concerns in Afghanistan have forced the ADB to pull out of the project, leaving the investment cost on the shoulders of the WB and the IDB. The project was first launched in 2007, when the four governments involved signed a Memorandum of Understanding. A reassessment conducted later in 2007 concluded that by 2016 the capacity could reach 3,700 Gigawatt hours (GWh), an amount that could gradually be reduced. The surplus of electricity will be transferred to Afghanistan and Pakistan from April through September when the surplus peaks. The cost of transmission has been projected at USD 18 June 2013 Page 4

3.37 cents per unit, which will be gradually increased up to USD 7.26 cents by 2030. Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan will sell electricity at a cost of USD 1.5 cents and USD 2.5 cents per unit, respectively. The line will extend 1,227 km starting in Datka (Kyrgyzstan) and ending in Peshawar (Pakistan), passing through Sangtuda (Tajikistan) and Kabul. In other regional energy news, the Pakistani government has officially announced the Annual Plan 2013-2014 that includes the implementation of the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline, says The Express Tribune. According to the plan, the IP pipeline will be operational by December 2014 and the cost has been reduced from USD 1.5 billion to USD 1.25 billion. Under the IP gas pipeline agreement, Pakistan will import 750 million cubic feet of gas per day, with a capacity of producing 4,000 MW to overcome the acute energy crisis the country is facing. A recent article by United Press International, describes Iran’s frustration with the recurrent delays on the IP project caused by Pakistan. Iran has warned Pakistan on several occasions that if they do not commit to building their stretch of pipeline within Pakistan in the set timeframe, they will incur the specific penalties under the bilateral agreement.

Humanitarian Update Fifty five asylum seekers drowned after their boat sank 65 nautical miles from Christmas Island, reports The Telegraph. Reportedly, one of the boats experienced engine failure while carrying seventy people in the middle of the Indian Ocean. So far Australian authorities have retrieved thirteen bodies and those who survived are being treated by navy medical staff. Afterwards, an article from The Guardian said that a majority of the asylum seekers in the boat belonged to the Hazara Shia minority fleeing Afghanistan. The Australian Customs and Border Protection took the decision not to retrieve the bodies of remaining asylum seekers. A spokesman argued “our priority in these operations remains the protection of life, responding to water rescues which may prevent any further loss of life.” The Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Reintoul pointed out that retrieving the bodies “would be a comfort to the families left behind.”

Construction works on the railway linking Turkmenistan-AfghanistanTajikistan were inaugurated on 05 June in Ashgabat, writes Wadsam. Before the ceremony, the three countries’ presidents inked the trilateral framework agreement on the construction of the railway, which will be funded by the ADB. This will be the second operational railway for Afghanistan after the Hairatan – Mazar-e Sharif line. The Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) praised the new infrastructure as important for Afghanistan’s economy as it would open new export and import routes that will compete with Pakistani and Iranian ports. The Afghan portion of the railway will have a total length of 400 km crossing Faryab, Jowzjan, Balkh, Samangan and Kunduz provinces. A number of other social and strategic infrastructure issues emerged over the past two weeks, including those summarised below:  The Director General of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on the European Union to lift its ban on Safi Airways, reports Wadsam. Since 2010, the European Commission banned all Afghan Airlines from traveling in European airspace due to the country’s “poor safety record of its civil aviation oversight system”. Tyler regarded the ban as “absurd” while criticising the concept of the European Union’s blacklist, as “airlines do not know why they are on the banned list and they do not know how to get off of it.” According to Tyler, Safi Airways meet s all international standards.  The new terminal of the Maulan Jalaluddin Balkhi International Airport in Mazar-e Sharif was inaugurated on 09 June, writes Pajhwok Afghan News. The airport is result of a joint venture of Germany and the United Arab Emirates at a cost EUR 60 million. German Foreign Affairs Minister Guido Westerwelle said that the new terminal would boost trade in northern Afghanistan. Currently, Mazar-e Sharif serves flights to various domestic destinations and to Iran, Turkey and Uzbekistan.  Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), the national electricity company, launched its mobile payment service in Kabul, reviews Wadsam. The new service, free of charge, is implemented in coordination with Pashtany Bank and the telecommunications company Etisalat. “People can now receive their bill details on their phones and make payments accordingly. Previously, the customers would receive paper bills, but now bills are sent via mobile phones,” said DABS Chief Executive Officer Abdul Razique Samadi. The pioneer service will soon be extended to Herat, Balkh, Nangarhar and Kunduz provinces.  Residents of Ghazni, which was declared Asian Capital of Islamic Culture and Civilization for 2013, are concerned about the delay of several development projects, reports Wadsam. These projects include an airport, a power station, two hotels and one canal. The absence of security in some remote areas is cited as the main obstacle. In this regard, Provincial Councilman Amanullah Khan Kamrani praised public uprisings against the insurgency for creating the right environment to launch these projects.

ENGAGE WITH US 18 June 2013

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