UNAMA – Press Briefings – 6 Febraury 2018

UNAMA expresses deepest sympathies following Kam Air plane crash
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) would like to express its deepest sympathies following the crash of the Kam Air flight last Thursday.

Awe speak, the location of the crash has been found, but rescue teams are still not able to reach the plane. The peaks of the mountain are very steep, making landing of the ISAF helicopters extremely difficult. Weather and the rough terrain are the other factors making this rescue operation not easy.

Wed know there were 104 passengers on the plane, the majority of which were Afghans traveling within their own country, but also some international workers who had dedicated their lives to help in this country’s reconstruction efforts.

UNAMA wants to welcome the establishment of a Joint Security Committee Center at ISAF to investigate the crash. UNAMA has a liaison officer within that Committee. We are confident that a thorough investigation will be conducted so we – and the families of the victims – know what happened tithe beloved ones.

50,000 military personnel only exist on paper
there are no changes since last Thursday in the number of disarmed soldiers. Then it was noted that 36, 7 soldiers had disarmed.

Along with the assistance of Afghanistan’s New Beginnings Programme (ANBP), the Ministry of Defense (Mood) has now decommissioned a total of 130 Afghan Military Forces (AMF) units and in the process has also stopped paying the salaries of 60,000 AMF members. You might wonder why, with over 36,000disarmed a total of 60,000 salaries are not paid, almost twice as many. This is because a number of commanders who wanted to collect more salaries than they had soldiers had purposely swollen the number of military personnel under their command. With the one-by-one decommissioning of units, genuine numbers of soldiers were eventually established – including a number of those who never existed and should never have stood – even one piece of paper – for a salary. This answers the question as to why, from 100,000 soldiers to be disarmed, we all agreed there were only 50,000of them in the end. The other 50,000 never existed, except on the Mod payroll, with figures provided to the Mood by commanders.

Immediate coordinated response to whooping cough outbreak in Groh province
I would like to give you an update on an ongoing operation which is currently taking place in Groh province, demonstrating the type of immediate response that can be offered through a strong cooperation between the Ministry of Health and the international community.

You might have heard of an outbreak of whooping cough in the province of Goran more specifically in the district of Tiwari, where six people died of the disease. There is also an outbreak in the districts of Tula and Saghar.

On Friday, UNAMA, through the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), pre-positioned a helicopter in Herat while the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) did the same in Kandahar. This was done, as I said, in close collaboration with the Herat and Kandahar Departments of Health and with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO). Both helicopters were ready to fly and equipped with 100 kg of medical supplies as well as an Afghan medical team to each of the affected districts.

Duet the inclement weather the helicopters only flew on Saturday. But as am speaking, and although I do not have many details, we have Afghan medical teams in the districts, healing people and making sure that this dangerous and mortal disease is being contained.

Midwifery school inaugurated in Badakhshan
Asocial midwifery school was officially opened last week in Faizabad. The World Health Organization (WHO) is funding the school with the support of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Agha Khan Health Service (AKHS). They will provide 18 months of training for at least 20 girls from every remote district in Badakhshan province. The training will focus on the basic needs of pregnant rural women. The project has been conducted in full collaboration with the Ministry of Health.

According to a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report published last September, Badakhshan has the highest and worst ever documented record of maternal mortality in the world with 6,500 women out of 100,000 dying while giving birth. The overall ratio of maternal mortality in Afghanistan is 1,600 deaths for 100,000, which still makes Afghanistan the worst country in the world to give birth. In Kandahar, the maternal mortality rate for100, 000 women is 2,200. In Lehman it is 800, while in Kabul it is 400.

As a means of comparison this is twice as high as in Niger, in Africa, twelve times as high in neighboring Iran, and 130 times as high in the United States.

6 February 2018