Country: Afghanistan

Private military companies: a word of caution

Since the gruesome killing of four American private military contractors in Falluja, Iraq, in March 2004, the major Western media outlets have been replete with articles on private military and security companies. Little by little, the public has been discovering the breadth and depth of the involvement of private contractors in some of today’s conflicts…. Read more »

Legal aid for returnees: the NRC programme in Afghanistan

Legal aid might not seem the first priority for a humanitarian assistance organisation in a situation where people’s physical needs for food, shelter, security and basic healthcare have not been met. Nonetheless, its practical value in post-conflict situations is being increasingly recognised. Until the rule of law has been re-established, most attempts to tackle other… Read more »

With us or against us? NGO neutrality on the line

The humanitarian community is groping for a way to conduct its work in the face of post-9/11 US foreign policy. Navigating an uncertain course among military and for-profit actors in Afghanistan and Iraq, and confronted by intensifying security threats, NGOs may be forgiven for reacting with alarm to what they see as a gathering storm… Read more »

Rebuilding health services after conflict: lessons from East Timor and Afghanistan

The response of the public health community to international political emergencies has been the subject of a growing body of literature since the mid-1980s. Descriptions of the epidemiological characteristics of different emergency settings and narratives of the experiences of NGOs are, fortunately, beginning to appear with increasing frequency in a number of peer-reviewed public health and… Read more »

EC Push for NGOs to Form Consortia

As an administrative and financial system, the EC is cumbersome and complex. It suffers from staff shortages and struggles with management difficulties. These problems have led the EC officials in charge of managing subsidy programmes to move away from the small project approach in order to limit the number of contracts being processed. The trend… Read more »

Donor governments and capacity-building in Afghanistan

Donor policy on Afghanistan is confused and contradictory, and aid interventions remain trapped in the relief/development impasse. The time has come for a fresh approach. By common consent, the needs in Afghanistan cannot be adequately met by short-term, localised, project-specific and relief-focused interventions. The length of the conflict has ensured a progressive degradation of the… Read more »

The Strategic Framework and Principled Common Programming: a challenge to humanitarian assistance

The protracted conflict in Afghanistan has created patterns of assistance marked by a confusing interplay of international and national actors. The Strategic Framework (SF) and Principled Common Programming (PCP) were devised in part in response to pressure from donors, who believed that there was a lack of coordination and coherent planning in aid delivery in Afghanistan…. Read more »

Working in a political vacuum: humanitarian aid and human rights in Afghanistan

The arrest in August 2001 of staff of a German relief organisation has made strikingly clear that being a humanitarian worker in Afghanistan can be a perilous occupation. Calculating such risks has become much harder as the Taliban has imposed new regulations on foreigners and aid programmes – moves that some see as an attempt… Read more »

Refugees from Afghanistan: protection and the role of civil society

Whether in Asia or Europe, Afghan refugees face increased hostility, violence and stigmatisation. These refugees have acute protection needs – needs which civil society must do more to meet. Today, Afghans account for 2.6 million of the world’s 21.1m refugees – around ten per cent of the total, and the second-largest refugee population after the… Read more »