United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

3 December 1996



General Assembly
Fifty-first session
Agenda item 21 (c)


                      Emergency assistance to Afghanistan

                        Report of the Secretary-General


                                                              Paragraphs Page

  I.  INTRODUCTION .........................................    1 - 4      2


III.  EMERGENCY HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE ....................   12 - 69     3

      A. Implementation of humanitarian programmes ........    17 - 65     4

      B. Coordination of humanitarian programmes ..........    66 - 69    13


  V.  CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ......................   74 - 78    14

                               I.  INTRODUCTION

1.   The present report is submitted in pursuance of General Assembly
resolution 50/88 A of 19 December 1995.  In that resolution, the
Assembly requested the Secretary-General to authorize the United
Nations Special Mission to Afghanistan, established under resolution
48/208 of 21 December 1993, to continue its efforts to facilitate
national reconciliation and reconstruction in Afghanistan.  A separate
report concerning the activities of the Special Mission has been
submitted in pursuance of General Assembly resolution 50/88 B of
19 December 1995 (A/51/698).

2.   The General Assembly called upon all Afghan parties not to hinder
in any way efforts by the United Nations to transport and distribute
emergency humanitarian assistance to the Afghan population,
particularly to the city of Kabul, and urged them to ensure full
freedom of movement for the Special Mission.

3.   The General Assembly requested me to continue efforts to develop
plans for national reconstruction and rehabilitation beginning in
areas of peace and security, on the basis of the recommendations set
out in my previous report (A/50/737).

4.   The General Assembly also requested me, inter alia, to report to
the Assembly at its fifty-first session on the progress made in the
implementation of the resolution.  The present report covers the
period from the adoption of resolution 50/88 A to mid-October 1996.


5.   The protracted conflict in Afghanistan has had grave implications
for the general population.  The fighting has produced a refugee
population of at least 6 million people, most of whom have been
relocated to camps in Pakistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran.  Of
the approximately 4 million that have been repatriated, many have
returned to homes that have been destroyed, fields that have been
rendered incapable of agricultural production and water supplies that
have been polluted.  Within the country itself, up to 500,000 Afghans
have been forced to relocate in the last two years.

6.   Until the beginning of September 1996, Afghanistan was under the
control of five main factions:  the Taliban, which possesses control
of 14 provinces in the southern, south-western and western parts of
the country; the government forces of Mr. Burhanuddin Rabbani and the
chief military commander Ahmad Shah Masoud in control of Kabul and its
neighbouring five provinces in the north-east; General Rashid Dostum
and allies in six provinces mainly in the north of the country; the
Hajji Abdul Qadir-led shura in control of the three eastern provinces;
and the Hezb-e-Wahdat, which controls Bamyan and parts of the Ghor
provinces in central Afghanistan.

7.   The most intense fighting in September 1996, which included rocket
and aerial attacks, occurred around Kabul between the Taliban and
government forces, blocking the main supply road from Jalalabad and
causing an acute shortage of food and fuel.  On 10 September, the
Taliban attacked and captured from government forces the strategic
town of Hasarak, some 70 kilometres south-west of Jalalabad.  On 11
September, the Taliban took control of Jalalabad and by 27 September
had entered Kabul, taking control from Rabbani's forces with only
minor resistance. 

8.   It is estimated that up to 10 million landmines are still buried
in Afghanistan, preventing the safe and efficient implementation of
humanitarian programmes, the return of internally displaced persons
and the reclamation of fields for agricultural production. 
Preventable communicable diseases are the leading cause of death among
Afghan children.  Malnutrition, for example, affects between 15 and
20 per cent of all children under the age of five.

9.   The basic welfare of women has deteriorated considerably. 
Afghanistan is now listed as the last of the 130 countries on the
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) gender development index,
which measures female literacy, life expectancy and school enrolment. 
In the two thirds of Afghanistan that is controlled by the Taliban,
girls are generally denied access to education and women are denied
access to work.

10.  Infant, childhood and maternal mortality rates are also cause for
concern.  For every 1,000 infants born, it is estimated that 182 die,
while 257 out of every 1,000 children die before they reach the age of
five.  Some 1,700 mothers die for every 100,000 that give birth and
only 12 per cent of pregnant women have access to the most basic
health care.  Furthermore, there is an acute shortage of health
personnel at all levels.

11.  Only 5 per cent of the rural population and at best only
40 per cent of the urban population have access to safe drinking
water.  In the past two years Afghanistan has had typhoid and cholera
epidemics, while pneumonia threatens the majority of children.


12.  In its resolution 50/88 A, the General Assembly called upon the
international community to respond to the United Nations inter-agency
consolidated appeal for emergency humanitarian and rehabilitation
assistance for Afghanistan launched by the Secretary-General for the
period from 1 October 1995 to 30 September 1996. 

13.  The appeal called for US$ 124 million for assistance to internally
displaced persons, mine clearance, voluntary repatriation, food aid,
agriculture, social programmes and coordination of relief and
management support.  As of 16 October 1996, a total of $60.1 million
had been pledged/contributed to the United Nations agencies and
non-governmental organizations for the programmes contained in the

14.  In order to respond to the needs during the winter period, a
supplement was issued to extend the appeal for a further three months,
from 1 October to 31 December 1996.  The main focus of the supplement
is the emergency winter relief needs and in particular the urgent
requirements of the inhabitants of Kabul.  Total requirements for the
period from 1 October to 31 December 1996 amount to $11.2 million. 
Funding has been requested for food and non-food items (such as
blankets and plastic sheeting), fuel and mine-clearance activities.

15.  A new inter-agency consolidated appeal will be launched at the
beginning of December 1996.  It will cover the period until 31
December 1997 and seek to respond to the basic needs of the Afghan
people.  The programmes contained in the appeal are aimed at
establishing nationwide mechanisms that respond to immediate needs,
such as basic relief, mine clearance and repatriation, and other
mechanisms that respond to priority needs in deprived areas in the
different regions, such as the provision of safe drinking water,
primary health care, urban and rural recovery.

16.  Humanitarian programmes have continued to operate throughout
Afghanistan.  However, the current Taliban policies regarding women
are having a significant impact on projects that employ women as well
as those that target women as direct beneficiaries.  This impact is
more pronounced and visible in Kabul, where there is a limited
presence of United Nations agencies and non-governmental

                 A.  Implementation of humanitarian programmes

                       1.  Internally displaced persons

17.  Ongoing hostilities and the presence of mines have served as
hindrances to the safe return of internally displaced persons.  In
this environment, a major priority of United Nations agencies and
non-governmental organizations has been to create conditions that are
conducive to the reintegration and resettlement of internally
displaced persons.  Programmes have been established to provide
internally displaced persons with emergency assistance and to
facilitate their reintegration by initiating income generating
projects and other vocational training schemes. 

18.  In Kabul, the World Food Programme (WFP) has facilitated the
reintegration of returning internally displaced persons and refugees
by implementing activities such as income generation and food
production.  Furthermore, in a drive to improve the self-reliance of
the internally displaced persons, WFP has initiated a large
food-for-work project aimed at improving the sanitary conditions and
rehabilitating the State farms in Jalalabad city.  Water supply,
health care and expanding educational opportunities are being provided
by non-governmental organizations under the overall coordination of
the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian

19.  As of 30 September 1996, some 104,433 people continued to live in
internally displaced persons camps in Jalalabad, where WFP has been
providing a ration of 50 kilograms of wheat per family per month. 
Food assistance was originally to have been phased out by spring 1996,
yet conditions in Kabul have continued to prevent the return of many
internally displaced persons.  Furthermore, internally displaced
persons living in camps in northern Afghanistan are included in food-
for-work programmes; approximately 8,000 internally displaced persons
in the Jalalabad camps are employed in food-for-work schemes through
WFP which has also initiated small-scale rehabilitation and
resettlement activities in Jalalabad and other cities hosting
internally displaced person populations. 

20.  Pursuant to its responsibility for the management of services to
internally displaced persons, the United Nations Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance supervises the distribution of
non-food items for shelter, as well as household items and kerosene. 
It also coordinates and supports income generating activities for
internally displaced persons.

21.  The total number of internally displaced persons in the
Mazar-i-Sharif and Kunduz camps is estimated at 35,000.  After the
Taliban takeover of Kabul in September 1996, an additional number of
9,231 persons from Kabul have been displaced to Kunduz, Taloqan,
Pul-i-Khumri and Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan.  These
figures exclude the thousands of Afghans displaced from Kabul since
1992 who are not living in camps.

22.  Some 50,000 people were displaced in the first weeks of November
by fierce fighting between the Taliban and the combined forces of
General Dostum and Ahmad Shah Masoud in north-western Afghanistan. 
Around 45,000 people from small towns and villages in the frontline
areas of the Badghis province fled southwards to the town of
Qala-i-Nau.  Another 2,000 to 3,000 people proceeded further south to
Herat, the main city in western Afghanistan, which was captured by the
Taliban in September 1995.

23.  On 21 October 1996, a task force comprising the Office of the
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), WFP, the United
Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Me'decins sans frontie`res (MSF) and
Oxfam and functioning under the overall coordination of the United
Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance, was set up
to coordinate emergency supplies and assistance.  In October and
November rapid assessment missions composed of the United Nations
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance, WFP, WHO and
UNHCR have confirmed the presence of internally displaced persons in
six schools in Pul-i-Khumri.  UNHCR, WFP and UNICEF have distributed
food, shelter and medical supplies in these areas.

                              2.  Mine clearance

24.  According to reports, mine deaths and mine related injuries in
Kabul have soared in recent months owing to the massive number of
civilians moving back into former frontline territory.  Present
reports put mine related deaths in Kabul at about one person every
hour.  It is estimated that this rate will rise with the onset of
winter, when many people, especially children, will enter former areas
of conflict in search of firewood and accidentally come across mines
and unexploded ordnance.

25.  Coordinated and supervised by the United Nations Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance, the mine clearance programme
in Afghanistan is made up of four components:  mine clearance, mine
awareness, mine clearance training and a national mine survey.  In its
seventh year of operation, the mine clearance programme is presently
focused on Kabul and Kandahar as major targets for demining.  The
programme is being implemented by three international non-governmental
organizations (the HALO Trust, Save the Children Fund of the United
States of America and Handicap International), and five Afghan
non-governmental organizations, Afghan Technical Consultants, the
Demining Agency for Afghanistan, the Mine Clearance Planning Agency,
the Mine Dog Centre and the Organization for Mine Clearance and Afghan
Rehabilitation.  Furthermore, an Iranian non-governmental organization
(RRGA) is conducting mine awareness training for refugees returning
from the Islamic Republic of Iran and the British Broadcasting
Commission Afghan education drama project is continuing to broadcast
mine related messages through its radio drama series.

26.  By December 1996, the mine clearance programme will have cleared
53.8 square kilometres of battlefield and 100 square kilometres of
other terrain.  However, several areas that were remined last year,
namely Warrak/Maidan Shah, Lobar Mohammed Aga and the Kabul/Sarobi
region, now require renewed demining efforts.

27.  In and around Kabul, the programme's operational plan involves 7
mine survey teams, 15 mine clearance teams, 3 mine detection dog
groups, 5 mine dog sets, 2 explosive ordnance disposal teams, 3 battle
area clearance teams and 6 mine awareness teams.  The mine survey team
has identified 11 kilometres of the Jalalabad-Kabul road from
Pul-e-Estehkam to Sar Kandaw Baba Ziarat that has been recently
affected by anti-personnel and anti-tank mines.  Furthermore, over
2 kilometres of both sides of the Kabul-Lobar road from Siabini to
San-i-Naweshta have been identified as mine affected areas. 
Additional mines have been discovered along 1.5 kilometres of both
sides of the Kabul-Maidan Shar road which, along with the
Kabul-Reshkhor and Kabul-Charasiab roads, has been reopened to

28.  Emergency operations have begun in Kabul city to destroy mines and
unexploded ordnance left behind by the current round of fighting.  As
of 23 October 1996, however, there were no reports that new mines had
been planted in Kabul city.

29.  Seminars have been recently held to provide an opportunity for the
staff of the various demining agencies in Afghanistan to discuss the
technical and managerial development of the programme, to identify
common problems, find practical solutions, and to investigate methods
of improving the productivity and safety standards of mine clearance

30.  The mine awareness programme has aimed at reducing mine related
casualties through education which would ensure better identification
and avoidance of mines.  The programme has trained some 500,000 people
against a target of 900,000, the shortfall being largely a result of
the low number of returnees from the Islamic Republic of Iran.  Mine
awareness briefings have been provided to returning internally
displaced persons and refugees at a number of locations including
border crossing points and camps in Jalalabad.  Training has also been
provided in Kabul and the surrounding areas targeting schools and
government offices.  Other mine awareness classes have been held by
the Organization for Mine Clearance and Afghan Rehabilitation in
schools, mosques and workplaces in nine provinces of Afghanistan.

31.  During 1996, 165 new deminers have been trained and three battle
area clearance courses (designed by the technical staff of United
Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance in
response to the emergency needs in Kabul) have been conducted.  To
date, a total area of 15 square kilometres has been demined and a
total of 20 square kilometres of high priority mine fields surveyed,
thereby meeting the target for the area of high priority mine fields
to be surveyed during the whole appeal period.  In recent months,
however, an additional 36 square kilometres have been identified as
high priority mined areas, the majority of which are in and around
Kabul and Kandahar cities.  With the planned extension in capacity,
all known high priority areas are expected to be cleared by the end of

                          3.  Voluntary repatriation

32.  Since the beginning of the UNHCR repatriation operation in 1989,
close to 3.84 million Afghan refugees have returned, 2.4 million of
whom have been directly assisted by UNHCR and WFP.  In 1995, a total
of 348,000 refugees returned to Afghanistan.  During the first 10
months of 1996, nearly 123,000 more have returned (115,186 from
Pakistan and approximately 7,300 from the Islamic Republic of Iran). 
Returnees from Pakistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran receive UNHCR
cash and in-kind repatriation grants, while returnees from the Islamic
Republic of Iran also benefit from transportation assistance provided
by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).  In March 1996,
UNHCR and the Governments of Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran
and Turkmenistan agreed to establish an operation for the transit of
Afghan refugees returning from the Islamic Republic of Iran through
Turkmenistan to the northern and central provinces of Afghanistan.

33.  Continued conflict and political instability in Afghanistan have
had a negative impact on voluntary repatriation.  It is estimated that
2.35 million Afghans continue to live in exile, mostly in Pakistan and
the Islamic Republic of Iran.  In September 1996, 646 Afghan refugees
were repatriated from the Islamic Republic of Iran through the
Dogharoun and Malik border stations in the Khorasan and
Sistan-Baluchistan provinces.  Assisted by 44 convoys organized by
IOM, 317 returned to distant locations inside Afghanistan.  In October
1996, 4,574 Afghans returned from Pakistan through border crossings in
the north-west and in Baluchistan.  All received direct UNHCR

34.  In addition to providing transportation assistance and cash and
in-kind repatriation grants, UNHCR continues to provide reintegration
assistance to areas of high return through quick impact projects. 
Larger scale schemes are also implemented by a country-wide network of
UNHCR field offices.  A large number of communities and many thousands
of families have benefited from projects aimed at the reconstruction
and establishment of shelters, health and educational facilities,
drinking and irrigational water supplies, road repairs, sanitation,
skill training and credit schemes.

35.  The inter-agency consolidated appeal called for $35.2 million to
assist in the voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees, of which
$19.8 million had been received as of 16 October 1996.  For 1997,
UNHCR and the Governments of Pakistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran
estimate the return of 350,000 more Afghans (250,000 from Pakistan and
100,000 from the Islamic Republic of Iran), although this is dependent
upon developments inside Afghanistan.

                                 4.  Food aid

36.  Several parts of Afghanistan have continued to suffer from severe
food shortage.  Despite many constraints, WFP has provided direct
assistance to close to 1.8 million members of vulnerable groups around
the country.  WFP has adopted a dual approach:  emergency assistance
and rehabilitation to facilitate the reintegration and resettlement of
Afghan refugees and internally displaced persons.  WFP has targeted
the war affected population, especially women, children, widows,
hospital patients and internally displaced persons in the Jalalabad
and northern camps.  WFP has also supported people-oriented and
community based rehabilitation activities through food-for-work
projects and institutional feeding, emergency relief and subsidized
bread sales for the poorest people.

37.  Since 1993, WFP food aid has been used for 2,500 projects that
have provided sustenance to the needy, supported household food
security in peaceful areas and facilitated the return of refugees and
internally displaced persons.  By the end of 1996, WFP will have
provided $85 million in food aid.

38.  WFP programmes in Afghanistan include 11 bakery projects.  These
provide subsidized bread to some 700,000 of the most needy people in
Afghanistan's regional and provincial centres.  In Kabul and
Jalalabad, where the need is the greatest, bakeries operate all year
round.  In collaboration with UNICEF and the Afghan Women's High
Association, 15 bakeries were run by widows in Kabul, baking bread for
an estimated 15,000 widows and their families.

39.  In collaboration with UNDP, WFP also supports the rehabilitation
and reconstruction of community infrastructure, for which it has used
49,338 metric tons of food aid, benefiting 210,000 recipients monthly. 
In the first six months of 1996, WFP supported food-for-work projects
which repaired 803 kilometres of farm-to-market roads, installed 220
culverts, rehabilitated 1,795 kilometres of irrigation canals and
reforested 226 hectares of land. Furthermore, 14 clinics, 550
classrooms and 8,561 houses were rebuilt, 447 kilometres of flood
control structures constructed and 135 wells repaired.

40.  WFP reaches young men and women through vocational and income
generating projects.  In addition, women account for approximately
45 per cent of the clientele of bakeries and of the assistance to
internally displaced persons. Women are also direct beneficiaries of
food-for-work schemes, receiving 7 kilograms of wheat per day.

41.  In its relief and rehabilitation programmes, WFP collaborates
extensively with other United Nations agencies and non-governmental
organizations in various sectors such as health, agriculture, shelter,
education, demining, water supply, sanitation and repatriation.  In
conjunction with UNICEF and the Ministry of Public Health, WFP feeds
people in institutions such as hospitals, clinics, orphanages and
kindergartens.  Together with FAO, WFP has also undertaken a
food-for-seed project in nine locations.  Through this initiative more
than 2,000 metric tons of wheat seed have been procured for
distribution to small farmers.

42.  For the winter of 1996-1997, WFP is preparing to increase its
targeted beneficiaries by 80,000 thereby reaching a total of 200,000
of Kabul's inhabitants.  Its ongoing monthly commitment of 2,800
metric tons will increase to an estimated 3,500 metric tons 

                                  5.  Health

43.  The focus of the health programmes in the reporting period has
been maternal and child health, the prevention and control of
communicable diseases, nutrition, immunization and the rehabilitation
of the health infrastructure in order to extend further the capacity
of health facilities.  Additional emphasis has been placed on the
provision of emergency health care in internally displaced persons
camps near Jalalabad, Mazar-i-Sharif and in cities affected by war and
mass population movements.

44.  The main strategy of WHO and UNICEF has been the establishment of
regional management teams comprised of regional health departments,
non-governmental organizations and United Nations agencies.  Regional
management teams are responsible for developing initiatives in the
field of maternal and child health.  To date, 150 physicians, nurses
and midwives have been trained in Jalalabad, Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif and
Kabul in antenatal and postnatal care.

45.  In order to combat the spread of communicable diseases, WHO and
UNICEF have established a referral system for acute respiratory
infection management.  Essential medical supplies and health education
was provided on different aspects of acute respiratory infection
prevention.  To prevent and reduce the spread of malaria and
leishmaniasis, WHO provided $230,285 for the provision of drugs,
laboratory supplies and training courses to staff in all regions.  For
tuberculosis control, WHO has made available drugs and diagnostic
facilities, and introduced short-course chemotherapy.  A total of 347
doctors, 403 nurses and 303 laboratory technicians received technical
training.  In addition, community based projects are being initiated
to combat the spread of malaria, diarrhoeal diseases, acute
respiratory infection, tuberculosis and diseases that can be prevented
by immunization.  All projects have been designed to include training
and elements of social mobilization to increase awareness of such
preventive measures. 

46.  For the coming winter, WHO in Kabul is targeting some 240,000
children under the age of five who are vulnerable to acute respiratory
infection and pneumonia.  Efforts to combat a cholera epidemic in all
provinces have been coordinated through a United Nations inter-agency
task force.  UNICEF and WHO worked on the provision of clean drinking
water and improved sanitary conditions.  To reduce mortality and
morbidity owing to diarrhoeal diseases, especially among children,
UNICEF allocated resources to introduce low cost and easily accessible
wheat salt solution for oral rehydration therapy in order to
facilitate the home management of diarrhoea.  In cooperation with the
Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief, UNICEF designed and
distributed 5,000 leaflets containing educational information on
diarrhoea prevention and control and on the chlorination of wells.

47.  Several programmes are currently addressing the problem of
malnutrition, in particular of children under five and women of child-
bearing age.  Together with UNICEF, WFP is supporting feeding
programmes at health institutions and orphanages as well as
distributing K-Mix (a mixture of high protein grains for treatment of
severely malnourished children) and high protein biscuits among
internally displaced persons and hospital patients. 

48.  The expanded programme of immunization, supported by UNICEF and
WHO, has aimed at increasing immunization coverage among children and
women of child-bearing age.  Children under five were immunized
against poliomyelitis, children under two against measles and women of
child-bearing age against tetanus.  The total of children vaccinated
in 1996 is estimated at 2.4 million and the total of women of child-
bearing age to 1.1 million.  In addition, 2.1 million children between
six months and five years of age received vitamin A capsules.
49.  The rehabilitation of the health infrastructure has been a
priority for WHO.  This has involved reorganizing the casualty
departments and provincial hospitals in Herat, Jalalabad, Kabul and
Mazar-i-Sharif.  WHO has also strengthened the disease surveillance
and reporting system in these hospitals.  Essential drugs were
provided by UNICEF to a network of 15 hospitals, 65 maternal and child
care centres, 175 basic health clinics and 40 mini health centres in
five regions of Afghanistan.  In addition, oral rehydration salts,
acute respiratory infection drug kits and other emergency medical
supplies are pre-positioned in five UNICEF sub-offices and at Peshawar
to respond to any sudden outbreak or epidemic of these two major

                        6.  Water supply and sanitation

50.  The provision of safe drinking water and the improvement of
existing sanitation systems remains the most urgent need in rural and
urban areas of Afghanistan.  The situation has become even more
pressing in areas hosting the return and reintegration of refugees and
internally displaced persons which are already affected by the
protracted conflict.

51.  Under area based projects, UNICEF selected six districts in five
regions of Afghanistan for water and sanitation activities. 
Approximately 100,000 people will have access to safe drinking water
through these projects.  Within these districts 150 handpumps were
installed on 90 dugwells and on 60 borewells.  Three piped water
systems were rehabilitated in northern Afghanistan and hygiene
education activities are being established in community committees
with the support of community mobilizers.  Furthermore, under the
national support initiative project, 250 handpumps are being installed
on borewells and improved dugwells benefiting some 75,000 people.  To
date, 242 of these handpumps have been installed.

52.      Under the 1995 consolidated appeal, four other projects are
currently being implemented.  A piped water supply scheme in the rural
areas of Kabul, Kapisa and Parwan has already benefited approximately
22,000 people by producing safe water from various production wells
and a 6.5 kilometre pipeline.  In Qalat and Zabul, two production
wells and 13.5 kilometres of pipeline with 52 public standposts have
been built and are benefiting an estimated 25,000 people.  In the
Jawzjan province, a handpump water supply project has been developed
and local Water and Sanitation Committees have also been formed. 
Forty handpumps were installed on 30 improved dugwells and 30
borewells in this province.  By the end of 1996, the remaining 20
handpumps will have been installed.

53.  Water supply and sanitation activities have also been undertaken
in Kabul under the district action plan and the Kabul emergency
programme.  The United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat)
has assisted in the clearance of at least 70,000 cubic metres of solid
waste in Herat, Mazar and Kabul city.  In October 1996, reports have
indicated that the Habitat Lobar water supply project has slowed down
its rate of operation owing to concerns regarding the security of
equipment.  Sanitation projects in particular have had to be

54.  WHO has taken the lead in the rehabilitation of the water supply
network and high elevated reservoir in Kandahar city, the design of
the Jalalabad water network and water resources rehabilitation.  It
has also designed the extension of the water network and the main
drainage canal rehabilitation project in Kandahar.  Furthermore, five
water testing laboratories have been established in five regions.  A
total of $548,331 was spent on these activities.

55.  A water sanitation and hygiene pilot project has been introduced
in the Herat province, involving the installation of four handpump
borewells, the construction of 104 family latrines and the widespread
distribution of hygiene education materials.  Training courses on
water sanitation and hygiene education were administered in Peshawar,
Kabul, and Mazar-i-Sharif by 56 trainers from the Ministry of Rural
Rehabilitation and Development, United Nations agencies and various
non-governmental organizations.

                                 7.  Nutrition

56.  UNICEF has established a technical working group on nutrition to
address the overall nutrition strategy in Afghanistan and to
coordinate United Nations and non-governmental organization
activities.  A first meeting was held in October 1996.

                                 8.  Education

57.  In some cases, support to education which had been provided by
United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations has now
been suspended in areas where girls are denied access to education. 
In the north, however, UNICEF is supporting schools with supplies,
furniture, small-scale school repairs and teacher training.

58.  The CARE home school project has established community schools in
rural areas.  Communities are responsible for school management and
participation by girls is a condition for the support.

59.  The British Broadcasting Corporation/Afghan education drama
project, financed by UNICEF, broadcasts messages related to education
and child rights.  The Afghan box library education project is placing
moveable "box libraries", with a large variety of reading material, in
community centres, large schools and clinics.  In some areas, the
Taliban authorities have permitted girls' schools to operate, such as
the CARE home school in Khost and SCA girls schools in Ghazni.

         9.  Children and women in especially difficult circumstances

60.  In Herat, home-based income generating projects for women, such as
tailoring and quilt making skills training projects are continuing. 
In Mazar, carpet centres and a bakery project are being established. 
In both locations, literacy is being introduced as a component of
income generating and skill training projects.

                           10.  Food and agriculture

61.  Notwithstanding the modest level of funding that the Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has received for
activities in this sector, the total collapse of the rural
infrastructure, the destruction of irrigation systems and the presence
of mines in prime agricultural land, WFP has had remarkable success in
assisting in the relaunching of food production.

62.      In the emergency phase, initial seed supply came from
neighbouring countries.  However, since 1995, UNDP has placed great
emphasis on in-country production with supervision to ensure quality
control.  UNDP has also established fruit tree nurseries and vegetable
seed production schemes and also promoted integrated pest management
initiatives.  FAO has supplied 3,500 metric tons of high quality seeds
for the 1995 autumn sowing season and has supervised farmers'
production of 6,500 metric tons of quality seed.  Maize, rice and
other summer crops have been distributed on a lesser scale. 
Furthermore, some 2,500 metric tons of fertilizer were distributed to
seed growers on a "user pays" basis.  Since 1995, the programme has
taken an integrated, development orientated approach and as a result
of close cooperation with UNDP, some rural areas of Afghanistan are
now self-sufficient in cereals.

63.  Since fruit has always been a major crop for both local use and
sale, FAO now supports a programme of in-country nursery development
in the private sector.  This initiative has assured the planting of
4,500 hectares of orchids per year.

64.  Since 1992, UNDP has been instrumental in establishing livestock
health and production projects.  With assistance from FAO, UNDP
expanded the network of private sector veterinary field units to 220
districts in 20 provinces of Afghanistan, constituting roughly
65 per cent of the country.  Medicines are purchased at 100 per cent
cost recovery and are, therefore, fully self-sustaining in all
veterinary field units.  UNDP also facilitated the administration of
some 15.1 million vaccinations, 4.4 million deworming projects and 3
million other treatments, based on a "user pays" concept. 

65.  In addition, livestock production issues such as nutrition, winter
supplementation, improved fodder production and breeding are also
being addressed.  Training for women in poultry production and animal
husbandry has also been successfully undertaken.  Funds have also been
provided by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Assistance for the emergency purchase of vaccines.

                  B.  Coordination of humanitarian programmes

66.  The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Assistance, under the overall responsibility of the Department of
Humanitarian Affairs of the Secretariat, has provided coordination and
logistical support for the humanitarian programmes in Afghanistan. 
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Assistance continued to supervise the mine clearance programme, the
aircraft operation and the radio network, while also retaining
responsibility for the management of the Sar Sahai and New Hadda camps
for internally displaced persons at Jalalabad.

67.  UNOCHA has played a key role in ensuring that there is proper
coordination between United Nations agencies and non-governmental
organizations.  Several United Nations agencies also directly support
non-governmental organization projects as well as implement activities
through non-governmental organizations. 

68.  Non-governmental organization coordinating bodies have played an
important role in ensuring the provision of humanitarian and
rehabilitation assistance to Afghanistan, in analysing the
non-governmental organization capacity and in maintaining regular
contacts with the donor community.  The Agency Coordinating Body for
Afghan Relief is currently planning a pilot base line survey of the
Nangarhar province, the findings of which will be of potentially great
interest to a number of United Nations agencies and donors in guiding
the selection of activities undertaken in the surveyed areas.

69.  In response to signs of waning interest in Afghanistan and to
ensure the continuity of humanitarian assistance, particularly in view
of current developments, an international forum on Afghanistan is
being planned.  Based on consultations with United Nations agencies,
the forum will develop a "humanitarian strategy" for Afghanistan,
seeking to address issues of common concern for short-, medium- and
longer-term planning.  Among these issues are the impact of the
current situation on humanitarian operations, lessons learned from
past activities in Afghanistan, the provision of humanitarian
assistance in an environment in which human rights are being violated,
changing priorities for the different regions and the country as a
whole and key aspects for the transition from emergency relief to
reconstruction and longer term rehabilitation.  Other related issues
such as landmines, the production of narcotic drugs and drug
trafficking, the rehabilitation of the agricultural sector and food
production will also be addressed in the relevant context.


70.  The rebuilding of community rural and urban areas has occupied a
predominant position in UNDP strategic objectives for the
rehabilitation of Afghanistan.  During the final year of the UNDP
five-year cycle (1992-1996) of ongoing programmes the general
objectives have been to deliver community-driven rehabilitation
support, to establish a platform from which key programmes could be
jointly funded by donors through the demonstration of the efficiency
of a community development concept and to provide logistical support
for coordinated United Nations system efforts, both at the regional
and local levels.

71.  A large scale programme in rural rehabilitation has been initiated
by UNDP, with the objective of serving as a facilitator for increased
community participation in rehabilitation.  Success in meeting that
objective has been realized through the establishment of
representative district and village rehabilitation "councils"
(shuras/jirgas), which serve to identify and set priorities and to
participate in the planning and monitoring of projects.  In close
collaboration with UNHCR, UNCHS and WFP, UNDP/United Nations Office
for Project Services rehabilitated more than 900 kilometres of
tertiary roads in rural and urban areas and repaired or reconstructed
culverts and bridges.

72.  A similar participatory approach was adopted in and around the
urban areas of Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif and Herat, whereby a joint
UNCHS/UNDP programme was designed to combine community participation
with local capacity-building.  The traditional systems of
representation on a district and neighbourhood level were revived,
while useful input from direct beneficiaries was solicited and

73.  For the 1997-1998 period, UNDP intends to maintain a dual approach
aimed at increasing community cohesion and self-help capacities, and
strengthening international cooperation for sustainable human
development.  The first of these approaches requires the improvement
of equitable and sustainable access to productive and social assets
and services, through high impact interventions at community based
levels.  Community cohesion will be advanced through beneficiary
participation in development management and by increasing the capacity
of the non-governmental organizations, private and public sector to
support community driven rehabilitation and development projects.  In
recognition of the absence of a fully functioning Government, the
second approach seeks to increase support for the role that the aid
community must play in the design, implementation and execution of the
reconstruction and development programmes in Afghanistan.


74.  The provision of humanitarian relief assistance is critical for
the survival of the most vulnerable people of Afghanistan in the short
term.  A political settlement and peace can have a real impact on the
results of the humanitarian work undertaken by the aid agencies.

75.  To avert a further worsening of the humanitarian situation during
the coming winter, particularly for the poorest residents of Kabul,
there is an urgent need to replenish depleted food stocks, fuel and
medical supplies.

76.  A number of incidents in Kabul since the Taliban took control have
raised serious concerns about the safety and security of United
Nations staff, both local and international.  Some local staff have
been apprehended and subjected to harassment, while United Nations
premises and some residences of international staff members have been
encroached upon.  The authorities throughout Afghanistan, particularly
in Kabul, are urged to exercise restraint and to respect the
privileges and immunities of United Nations staff and their personal
property in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the
rules of international law.

77.  The severe restrictions on women's access to work and girls'
access to education, in areas controlled by the Taliban, have had a
negative impact on the implementation of humanitarian programmes. 
Some activities, specifically involving female workers and targeting
women beneficiaries, have been suspended. This continues to be a
matter of serious concern to the United Nations and it is hoped that
the concerned Afghan authorities will respect the rights of all the
Afghan people.

78.  I call upon the international donor community to continue to
provide voluntary contributions in support of the humanitarian
assistance programmes in Afghanistan as requested in order to maintain
essential activities of the United Nations Office for the Coordination
of Humanitarian Assistance, as well as other humanitarian initiatives.


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Date last posted: 28 December 1999 17:35:10
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