Coming on the newly expanded highway from Iran to Herat, the buoyant commercial centre of western Afghanistan, one could almost believe our Western politicians that the country is in a difficult but continuous and unstoppable process of reconstruction. Crowded bazaars, busy people, new hospitals, sponsored schools and an exuberant administration: what more does the country need? But appearances are deceptive! On the way to our hospital project in the district of Gulron, the condition of the infrastructure uncovers the true state of non-urban Afghanistan: a concrete slab road built by the Soviets in the 1960s leads to Rabatsangi, from there it takes several hours on a dirt road through several villages to Qara Bagh. Remarkably, Qara Bagh is one of the largest settlements of the district with a hospital serving more than 150,000 people.
Starting in 2005, Cap Anamur’s engagement has led to a positive development, valued by the local population, even though the security situation in the entire country was steadily deteriorating since the beginning of that year. Due to insurance-related concerns, one foreign NGO after another left Kabul, which most of them never really left during their stay except for so-called “assessment trips”. This movement again highlights the need of the rural population for reconstruction and orderly structures. For instance, in Qara Bagh, between 150 – 250 patients are treated daily and the number is constantly increasing! Only his year, an additional 220 emergency operations were carried out on patients, some of them had been on the road for days to reach the hospital. Due to this mass influx, this spring the expansion of the hospital with a new building complex, x-rays for better diagnosis and the establishment of a health post hub in the surrounding area will be tackled. Cap Anamur will then be the only hospital with district hospital status in the Gulron region, providing the necessary diversified medical care for the people.
As long as there is no further development in the rural areas of Afghanistan with regards to new roads, schools or hospitals, the Taliban, which is regaining its power, will continue to be perceived by the residents as an alternative regulatory power to President Karzai’s executive, which is currently only rudimentarily trained and externally supported. No help can be expected from ISAF troops, who are quartered in barracks and more concerned with their own security than with the reconstruction of the country. Also, the argument of the retreating international NGOs to put more responsibility into the hands of the local organisations is pure deception! Rather, daily stability after almost 30 years of war must be provided to the residents through concrete achievements, and thereby to snatch the ideological ammunition from the hands of violent forces! Afghanistan and its residents urgently need help!
We would like to thank the Cap Anamur teams in Afghanistan and our donors!