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Infrastructure

Infrastructure in Afghanistan
USAID/Afghanistan

BACKGROUND

Decades of war, harsh climatic conditions, and neglect due to extreme poverty left much of Afghanistan’s infrastructure in rubble and decay. In many remote areas, it was never developed at all. The lack of infrastructure has had a significant negative impact on Afghanistan’s economic development. Since 2001, USAID in conjunction with the Afghan Government has rehabilitated nearly 2,500 km of regional and national roads increasing access to marketplaces and international trade; eighty percent of Afghans now live within 50 km of the country-wide Ring Road, giving Afghans better access to their country's major transportation routes, and facilitating their access to markets, schools, health clinics and government services.

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

USAID is helping to strengthen Afghan capacity to design, build, and maintain roads; increase the supply of reliable electricity; expand access to potable water; and design and construct schools, clinics, and hospitals. While constructing infrastructure in Afghanistan is critical to the U.S. Government’s short-term stabilization objectives and long-term development goals, such projects face many challenges and problems. Most projects face security threats, physically remote and inaccessible sites, and difficulties moving equipment across rough terrain. Nevertheless, USAID infrastructure projects, in partnership with and in support of the Afghan Government and other donors, are successfully overcoming such obstacles in order to provide power, roads, water, and buildings that support job creation and sustainable economic growth.  This will prove to be critically important especially beyond transition in 2014.

ENERGY

Surveys indicate increased electricity supply is a top priority for Afghans. USAID efforts have significantly increased access to electricity among the Afghan population. USAID has supported the Afghan government in coordinating multi-donor efforts to build the North East Power System (NEPS) needed to transmit low-cost power from Uzbekistan to Kabul and other major population centers in Afghanistan. The U.S. has also rehabilitated part of Kajaki hydropower facility resulting in a doubling of the hydropower generation capacity of the dam. In addition, USAID constructed the Tarakhil Power Plant, which provides up to 105 Megawatts (MW) of backup power to Kabul and those living in communities supported by NEPS. USAID’s current priorities in the power sector include the NEPS SEPS connector project, also known as PTEC, planned to bring inexpensive imported grid power to a much wider Afghan population. Another priority is to work with Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) to install the third turbine at Kajaki Dam and investments to improve distribution and transmission in Kandahar and Helmand provinces.
 
A key component of the U.S.-Afghan energy strategy is increasing the number of Afghans working in the power sector. In concert with this effort, USAID is actively supporting the commercialization of the national state-owned utility, Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS). Collections improvements at DABS has doubled revenues in two years and increased power distribution by 18 percent.
 
In addition to large-scale projects, the U.S. assists more than 300 rural communities gain access to advanced technologies to power their homes, schools, and businesses through clean, renewable energy, such as micro-hydropower, solar, and wind projects.

ROADS

An expanded and improved road network supports increased economic activity while enabling Afghans to access key services such as healthcare and education. USAID has funded the rehabilitation of more than 2,000 km of regional, national, provincial, and rural roads. Construction of a 105 km road from the city of Keshim to the city of Faizabad was completed in 2011, and highlights the benefits of economic gains from new and improved roads. The number of new businesses such as fuel stations and markets has substantially increased, commercial bus activity has increased, and market prices have declined along the road’s path because of increased efficiency relating to transportation.
 
Ongoing U.S.-funded projects include rehabilitation of a national highway linking Khost and Gardez to the Ring Road.  USAID worked closely with the Afghan government and the private-sector to maintain more than 2,500 km of roads nationwide. USAID projects strengthen the capacity of government staff in road design and support national efforts to establish an independent road authority and road fund that will enable efficient long-term management and maintenance of the transportation infrastructure.

WATER & SANITATION

Currently, only 27 percent of Afghan rural households have access to safe drinking water. In partnership with the Afghan government, USAID has increased access to safe drinking water to rural communities by constructing over 26,000 wells. Where well water has been provided, sanitation facilities have been improved and nearly 33,000 latrines have been built or renovated improving the health of Afghans. USAID also supports the government’s water and sanitation sector reforms, which seek to commercialize the urban water sector, increase cost recovery, and improve management. In addition, USAID is working to develop river basin master plans that will allow the Afghan government to optimize its future water resource development.

BUILDINGS

USAID is funding the design and construction of hospitals, mid-wife training centers, teacher training centers, high schools, residential and educational facilities for university students, and government structures, all built to modern seismic standards. Two campus-size high schools were constructed to accommodate the high demand for both boys’ and girls’ secondary education, providing quality education for 12,000 students in Kabul City. There are four completed Provincial Teacher Training Facilities in Faryab, Parwan, Wardak, and Nangarhar to be handed over to the Ministry of Education this year. These facilities help the Afghan government provide critical health and education services throughout the country.

 

Current Projects:

 

Old Projects:

Demining
Sustainable Water Resources Management
 

 

Last updated: June 02, 2014

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