Moreover, Kunduz has a slight Dutch touch, as Dutch police trainers will start training the Afghan National Police in Kunduz. This police mission is of minor importance in the broader Afghan context but has dominated and will probably continue to dominate Dutch press.
The province of Kunduz knows quite some challenges. The security situation is fluid with a relatively stable provincial capital, while some districts are almost inaccessible, certainly for a foreigner. Until not even that long ago Kunduz used to be one of the safest provinces of Northern Afghanistan. That changed when the Taliban took control of large parts of Kunduz. American and Afghan troops were very successful in ousting the Taliban in a major offensive, but during this visit, it appeared that local militias had filled the power vacuum that was left behind. These militias do not proof to be peace makers, on the contrary. It is against this backdrop that HealthNet TPO is running warehouses with bed nets and that we distribute the nets. It is also against this background that we implement the new EC programme.
The visit learned that the bed nets have done the reputation of HealthNet TPO well. Both the director of the Public Health Department and the deputy director of Women’s Affairs were very positive about the new programme. The visit also learned that the daily reality of our work is not only being influenced by the type of insecurity that reaches the Dutch newspapers, but especially by provincial politics, corruption and logistical problems. For example, mid April local authorities decide to close one of our warehouses. As it appeared later these officials wanted money. Mediation of the United Nations solved the problem. Also a traffic incident killed a truck driver carrying a cargo of bed nets end of March.
The trip to Kunduz was useful and valuable. More knowledge of the challenges we face is important, because planning and implementation of programme activities should be informed by exactly this kind of knowledge.