Results of the Danish and International Efforts
During the recent years, considerable results have been obtained through the Danish and international efforts in Afghanistan.
Security and stabilisation
- The Danish military efforts are an important element in the overall international efforts, both in terms of establishing security and stability and in terms of building the capacity of the Afghan National Army.
- ISAF works determinedly to realise the goal of building an effective Afghan army of 80,000 troops by 2010, with a gradual transfer of responsibility for security to the Afghan National Army. More than 50,000 troops have already been trained. Denmark supports capacity building of the Afghan National Army with DKK 10 million annually and has, among other things, established training facilities for the Afghan troops stationed in Helmand Province.
- Particularly in Helmand Province, the Danish forces have since 2006 contributed to enhancing security through conducting difficult and demanding combat operations in a complex environment and have thus contributed to creating a security situation that facilitates moderate development and reconstruction in and narrowly around the towns of Lashkar Gah, Gereshk and Sangin in the central part of Helmand Province. In addition, the Danish contingent has contributed to a solid expansion of the overall area of Upper Gereshk Valley, where development and reconstruction activities can be implemented.
- A form of division of labour has taken place, where it has primarily been the United Kingdom which, besides contributions to operations, has been able to allocate forces to implement training and capacity building of the Afghan National Army units stationed in Helmand Province.
- The capacity building efforts have progressed so far as to enable the Afghan National Army units in Helmand to undertake limited operations at battalion level jointly with ISAF. This was evidenced, for example, in connection with the recapture of Musa Qala in December 2007.
- Since 2007, Danish police officers have contributed to capacity building of the Afghan police through EUPOL (EU Police Mission), initially only at centralised level, but as of May 2008 with a total of eight police instructors in Kabul, Helmand, Uruzgan and the Kunduz provinces.
The Afghan National Army is becoming more capable
On 11 December 2007, the Afghan National Army, with support from ISAF forces, recaptured control of the town of Musa Qala in Helmand Province. The operation shows that the Afghan National Army has become more effective and in time will be capable of undertaking security missions in Afghanistan by itself. The Afghan troops have remained in the town and maintain security together with ISAF, so as to ensure that the development and reconstruction work can continue, to the benefit of the town’s inhabitants.
- In addition, cooperation between the Danish CIMIC (Civil and Military Cooperation) detachment and civilian advisers has led to the implementation of a number of small projects in areas where civilian organisations are unable to work. The projects are implemented with the aim of producing quick and visible results and thus increasing the population’s backing for ISAF and the Afghan Government.
- So far, more than 400 small projects of this type have been implemented in Afghanistan. The projects have primarily been targeted at education, water supply, health and infrastructure. In addition, the Danish CIM-IC detachment has contributed to the implementation of more than 150 stabilisation projects in Helmand financed by the United Kingdom.
The Danish soldiers establish security and create conditions for reconstruction
The Danish forces carried out, for example, a large-scale operation in January 2008 which established the basis for liberating several areas of the green zone around the Helmand River from the control of militant Taliban groups. The objective of the operation was, among other things, to establish a patrol base called “Armadillo”, from where the Danish contingent could monitor and patrol a large area of the Green Zone and thus create conditions for civilian development in the area.
Danish troops on their way to the Green Zone from the Patrol Base Armadillo. The armadillo is part of the logo of the unit that set up the patrol base. Photo: Army Operational Command, Denmark
The head of the Danish CIMIC detachment is handing over the keys and registration documents for the “new” used trucks to the Mayor of Gereshk. Photo: Army Operational Command, Denmark
Reconstruction and development begins with the basic things
The growth in the number of inhabitants in Gereshk in the central part of Helmand Province and a destroyed refuse collection system created problems with waste management in the town. A refuse collection system was built up with waste drop-off points where the local population could deliver their waste instead of throwing the rubbish into the street. It soon became a success, and the quantity of rubbish at the waste drop-off points grew, so much so that the town’s refuse workers were unable to keep up. A mechanical solution to the collection problem was needed so as to enable the town’s refuse workers to carry out their important work more effectively. The Danish CIMIC detachment, therefore, provided refuse collection trucks, on the condition that the local authorities themselves could maintain them and that spare parts could be obtained locally.
One of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ development advisers negotiating with the local Afghan authorities in Gereshk. Photo: Army Operational Command, Denmark
State building and human rights
- Denmark has supported the implementation of free elections and the efforts to build the capacity of the Independent Election Commission. Through the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, Denmark contributes to the implementation of public sector reforms and capacity building of the public sector.
- With Danish support, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) has been established, which works to promote, protect and monitor human rights.
- The beginnings of a pluralistic civil society have been laid with support from, among others, Denmark.
Danish support to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund
Denmark has provided considerable support to the multi-donor trust fund, the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, which plays a key role in the endeavour of reforming the public sector. The Trust Fund has built up a system that enhances the state’s financial control systems, thus ensuring proper use of the funds. The Trust Fund has played a decisive role in the re-establishment of the Afghan state and provincial administration, which is strategically important as a counter-weight to the local power bases of warlords.
Economic and social development
- In 2001, a total of 900,000 boys attended school. Today, approx. six million children attend school, two million of whom are girls. Denmark has provided a significant contribution through construction of schools, developing the curriculum and printing more than 44 million textbooks.
- Denmark has supported the “National Solidarity Programme” (NSP), in which 18,000 villages have been awarded block grants to implement own development projects. The projects comprise, among others, water supply, sewerage, agriculture, education and health.
- The micro-credit programme, MISFA (Microfinance Investment Support Facility in Afghanistan) – which Denmark has contributed to – has awarded more than 400,000 loans, of which 70 per cent have gone to women. The loans are typically used to establish small businesses.
- Through Danish NGOs, Denmark has contributed to raising the level of public health through hygiene and nutrition training, and five million people have gained access to water and sanitation. This has contributed considerably to raising the proportion of the population with access to safe drinking water, from 13 per cent in 2002 to 36 per cent in 2006.
Humanitarian assistance, incl. support to the return of refugees and internally displaced persons
- Five million refugees have returned to Afghanistan. Denmark has supported their re-integration through, among others, UNHCR.
- Since 2004, Denmark has had a well-functioning agreement with Afghanistan regarding the re-admission of rejected asylum seekers. The cooperation includes, among other things, support to capacity building of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior Affairs as well as support to reception and re-integration of the returnees.
- A total of 132,000 km² has been cleared of landmines, and many thousands of Afghan mine-sweepers have been trained, partly by means of support provided through Danish NGOs.
- Denmark has contributed to the mitigation of humanitarian crises by means of support to various UN organisations, including WFP, UNICEF and UNHCR.