A road renovation project breathes new life into a farming district cut off from regional commercial centers for nearly a decade
10 DECEMBER 2011 | URUZGAN, AFGHANISTAN
CHALLENGE For nearly a decade, the remote Chahar Chineh District of Afghanistan’s Uruzgan Province was cut off from regional population and commercial centers. The isolation devastated the local economy, prohibited local businesses from accessing regional supply centers, and restricted employment opportunities. The impact on the district’s agriculture-dependent Chutu Valley was especially severe, depriving farmers of access to regional markets where they could sell and trade products cultivated in Chutu’s rich, fertile soil. The isolation also created an ideal safe haven for insurgents who preyed on the local population.
INITIATIVE The Afghan government saw the Chutu Valley as an ideal launching pad for an ambitious civilian-military strategy. Designed to stabilize western Uruzgan, the strategy involved restoring access, security, and economic viability to a series of remote villages situated along old supply routes in the district. After Afghan and international security forces cleared the main body of insurgents from the Chutu Valley, USAID would rehabilitate two main river roads running deep into the valley and reinforce a bridge spanning the river. Afghan security forces would secure the roads to allow unfettered access to regional markets and population centers in Uruzgan.
RESULTS Today, the roads facilitate the flow of commercial traffic between the fertile farmlands of the Chutu Valley and Uruzgan’s central markets in Tarin Kowt and Dehrawud. More than 3,600 local laborers rebuilt 25 km of roads and reinforced the Chutu Bridge. This renewed access has delivered a revitalized consumer base to regional vendors and Chutu farmers alike. “Now, I can sell my crops in Dehrawud and get money to help my family,” a Chutu farmer reports. Some 30,000 Uruzgan residents have been positively impacted by the Chutu Valley’s renewed participation in the regional economy and restored access to government institutions. The reinvigorated economy and increased security presence have weakened the insurgency’s grip on the region and stripped anti-government elements of a secure enclave from which to operate and intimidate local residents.
Last updated: January 20, 2015