Lack of aid in "Swedish" provinces [in Afghanistan]
This is an article from Svenska Dagbladet. I have tried to translate it as well as I can. Every thing wrong is my fault.
Aid Sweden has the responsibility in Afghanistan for four provinces, but are being critizised for the lack of "rebuilding" the areas.
Mazar-e-Sharif In the village at the "slättlandet" [meaning flat land or plaines- not in the mountain areas]- there are no winds blowing and it is 35 C in the shadows allready early in the morning. Three girls in colored dresses are picking up water for their families. Nothing much seems to have happened since the prophet Muhammads time, it's only the flagon's that are missing.
The idyll is deceptous. Here are no well or porling fresh water. The girls fills their buckets from a dirty ditch.
-24 families collects their water from this small stream. We have problems with diarrhea and Cholera, explains Wadi Mamal in the village Sharlarzai, an hours cartrip from the city Mazar-e-Sharif; here there are no clean water or electricity.
We are in the province of Balkh, in the middle of the Swedish area of responsibility in Afghanistan. Through their military prescence, lead by NATO, Sweden has a PRT- Provincial Reconstruction Team.
When spoken of in Sweden, it is said that security and development goes hand in hand, but in the four "Swedish" provinces with two million inhabitants there are few Swedish development projects. In spite of the areas being relatively insurgent free. The exception being the province of Sar-e-Pol, there no help organisations works at all because the risc of being attacked are to great.
- There are nothing here; real roads, water and a functioning police force, says captain Roger Edelbro during leading a Swedish observation team in Sar-e-Pol.
The teams are Swedens link to the people here, but Swedish military forces are forbidden to give aid on a larger scale.
- Everybody here asks why there are so little development going on here. "Shall we be punished because we are keeping peace here. Is it war you need to give us some money?" vitnesses Captain Roger Edelbro.
As responsible for foreign forces in the area, Sweden often is the target for grudge and critics. In a letter to the UN- organ UNAMA, the governor of the Balkh province questions if Sweden should lead this PRT.
- The Swedish PRT are behaving very well. They are nice and councel us in matters of security. They respect our culture and our people. We regard and love them. My critics is aimed towards the re- development and the Swedish government, explains governor Ustad Atta Muhammad Noor.
The governor is a former school teatcher that became a warrior in the mujaheddin against the Soviet Union and then became one of the generals who defeated the talibans in 2001. He is a respected man of power but now his adversory is found in the remote country of Sweden.
-If you don't build up our provice- then we don't need your PRT, says govenor Atta and tells that other countries has invested between 50 and 120 million dollars in "their" PRT:s.
-But that is not the case here. The Swedes have been here for three years now but no rebuilding is done, there are to little development. The Swedish government should have a development program for the provinses. We have five-year development plans for roads, tunnels, clinics, hospitals and schools.
Today there are 300 Swedish soldiers. Should there instead be 100 soldiers and 200 aid workers?
-It's a good idea. Even with [only] 100 soldiers here the people and the enemy would feel that ISAF are present. Just them being here has an effect. If there are fewer soldiers here so money could be spent on aid instead, it would be a goo equation both for Sweden and our people, tells the governor.
Back to the village of Sahlarzai that lays in the governors own province. Here atleast something positive is happening. Half the village are on their feets to watch when the villages first water pump are taken in to action.
-We did not have clean water before and are very happy with the Swedish comiteé, says the village elder Abdul Rahman.
It is the Swedish Afghanistan commiteé (SAK) he is thanking. It is the members of SAK that have paid for the pump. For 26 years they have supported the people in one of the poorest and most dangerous countries in the world.
-The hand pumps is a good thing, it makes it harder for the terrorists to poison the water supply for the villages wich has happened a number of times, tells Per Olsson, an aid worker with extensive international experience of aid work.
But in the village of Sahlarzai, joy and beliefe in the future is the word for the day. Abdul Rahman takes the first sip of water from the newly installed water pump, then the other men, after that the boys- the girls have to wait shyly 15 meters away.
Ok. This is so wrong on so many levels that I don't even know where to begin. If I have the time I will do a deeper analys of it. But as you all are intelligent- I suppose you can figure it out for yourself.