Local government and community leaders provide safety for project workers
26 NOVEMBER 2011 | GHOR, AFGHANISTAN
The road rebuilding project in Passabad District of Ghor Province became the frontline in halting insurgency meddling and threats in vital development work.
After recent fighting in Hilmand Province, many insurgents have fled north into the border area of Passaband District in Ghor Province. This influx has destabilized the district, making it increasingly dangerous for local residents. Most aid and development projects had ceased in the wake of insurgency threats.
Infrastructure in the district is in dire need of repair. The roads that connect key towns in Passaband are in a deplorable state, being practically impassable to cars and trucks. Limited transportation means an inability for the local people to access markets or medical care in the area. Passaband has also suffered from draught, which led to limited harvests and few work opportunities in agriculture
Central Asia Development Group implemented a USAID-funded project that renovated a key 25 km stretch of road. The activities employed 504 workers from the local villages -- men in desperate need of work.
After the project was launched, the local government, village elders, and the local shura had to set up security. Because the project was the primary employment opportunity in Passaband, it was in the best interest of the local government and community leaders to ensure that there was no interference from anti-government insurgents. The bottom line was that if the project was stopped, the Passaband residents would be left without income to buy food and other desperately needed essentials.
Armed guards were posted at strategic points along the work site. The insurgents understood the message from the Passaband community: do not interfere with our livelihoods. The local shura and community leaders told insurgent commanders they would be resisted and the insurgents had no legitimacy in Passaband. The road was rebuilt without any security incidents.
One project supervisor declared, “The people of Passaband now understand that the insurgents are the biggest hindrance to development and jobs in the area.”
Last updated: January 20, 2015