Cooperation with Afghanistan

18.06.2015. 15:50

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Latvia's assistance to Afghanistan 

Since 2007, Latvia has been involved in the realisation of development co-operation projects in the Faryab province of Afghanistan where Latvian military forces are also stationed.

Commencing 2007, and on a rotational service basis, the Foreign Ministry of Latvia has had a Policy and Development Advisor stationed in Afghanistan. In November 2008, the third on site Foreign Ministry advisor commenced work in the Faryab province of Afghanistan. His tasks include co-operation with local Afghan authorities and working to identify and realise projects that have been financed or co-financed by Latvia.

The first financed development co-operation project was completed on 29 May 2008. Within the project framework, a system of water supply and delivery from a source was developed so as to provide drinking water to more than five thousand local inhabitants in three villages of the Faryab province.  Drinking water was also provided to a school which serves the educational needs of 1300 pupils. The project took six months to complete at a total cost of USD 58,044 (approximately LVL 31,000). The Foreign Ministry development co-operation contribution from its development assistance funds amounted to LVL 23,950 whereas the remainder of the project cost was covered by local sources with the participation of village inhabitants in the practical realisation of the project.

In 2008 Latvia continued to provide assistance toward project realisation in Afghanistan. A gala event took place on 20 September to record the placing of the foundation stone of the new court house. Altogether, within the project framework, three court houses were built and training was provided for judges and court employees. The total project cost was EUR 500,000 which was realised with co-financing from Latvia (LVL 25,000 from development co-operation funds, LVL 45,220 from funds reserved for unforeseen circumstances in accordance with regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers) and EUR 400,000 was invested into the project by the European Commission.  On 11 February 2009, the first of the three court houses was opened.

On 25 December 2008, a middle-sized police substation was completed with a one-and-a-half meter high impact-resistant safety wall around the territory of the police station, with the total length of 200 metres, as well as the purchase of an autonomous electrical generator, the digging of a water well, and adequate furnishing of the substation. Total project cost was LVL 27,000. The police substation will meet security standards which were established in association with representatives of the U.S. military and the Norwegian police in Faryab.

At the end of 2008, with the commencement of the cold season and with financial assistance from Latvia, winter blankets were supplied to the needy people of Faryab province.

Within the framework of a communications project, the Latvian television journalist Sandijs Semjonovs visited Afghanistan in October 2008 and prepared several video documentary materials so that Latvia's inhabitants would better understand the significance of their government's assistance projects.

At a celebratory event in the Japanese Embassy in Riga on 6 March, 2009, an agreement was signed with regard to the allocation of financing to the Afghanistani NGO Turkistan Rehabilitation Facility (TRF) which will realise the building of a canal and water supply for irrigation to 12 villages of the Pashtun Kot region of Faryab Province. The agreement was signed by the Japanese ambassador to Afghanistan, Hideo Sato, and TRF director Samarudin Kuram. The above-mentioned project was reviewed and recommended by Latvia to the Japanese government under the 2008 Grant Assistance for Grass-Roots Projects. 

This is now the second development co-operation project which has been realised through the participation of Latvian representatives in Afghanistan and in attracting financial support from third countries. This is especially important at a time during which Latvia itself is experiencing financial limitations on the possibility of allocating funding from its own budget resources.

Water supply shortage is one of the fundamental problems that needs to be addressed by the inhabitants of the northern province of Faryab in Afghanistan. It is exactly this access to the necessary water for irrigation purposes that has a great impact on the important agricultural sector.