This report provides a comprehensive assessment of the political, social, economic, and security situation in Uruzgan at the end of 2011. It identifies key changes and achievements that occurred over the 18-month period since Australia assumed leadership for the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Uruzgan in August 2010 while the multi-national military effort in the province—the Combined Team Uruzgan (CTU)—is under US command. The report, The Dutch Engagement in Uruzgan: 2006 to 2010, a TLO Socio-Political Assessment, was used as the baseline to measure change that occurred between 1 August 2010 and the end of December 2011.
TLO conducted about 180 interviews with local residents for this report, with a similar number of interviews from four quarterly provincial updates also incorporated. TLO’s survey team included several women to ensure that the perspectives of Uruzgani women were incorporated into the report. The resulting primary data was analysed by the TLO Research Team, comprised of both national and international staff, who conducted further desk research and triangulation interviews with 50 key Uruzgan actors and 29 development organizations. The report also includes local perspectives derived from a December 2011 survey conducted at a provincial stability meeting (jirga) with 523 Uruzgani respondents from all districts.
The report is broken down into sections that discuss progress in socio-economic development, gender equality, governance, access to justice, and security. Key recommendations follow the executive summary. It is hoped that the report will be used to encourage informed debate, test assumptions, help identify development gaps, and provide insight into local perceptions of the evolving socio-political situation in Uruzgan.
The Dutch ceded international responsibility for Uruzgan to the Australians in the summer of 2010 at the height of the international military surge. For many within the international community, this was an optimistic moment as the necessary resources to finally turn the tide of the decade-long conflict poured into Afghanistan’s south, the Taliban’s heartland.
The effects of that strategy are now being realized. The presence of the Afghan government has increased and its citizens are slowly able to access key services such as healthcare and education. Yet Uruzgan stands at a crossroads. Improved security and service delivery is set against the announced drawdown of international troops and reductions to development assistance. On-going talks with the Taliban could result in a political settlement involving some type of power sharing agreement. Uruzgan’s largely voiceless citizens have little or no say in any of these decisions and have no option but to keep their collective head down and hope for an outcome that will at least provide them with stability and the rights they have begun to enjoy.
Click here for the full report (184 pp.)
(The Liaison Office, April 2012)