Uruzgan Province

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Uruzgan Province is a mountainous province in south-central Afghanistan, north and east of provinces on the Pakistani border and approximately 230 km southwest of Kabul. Its capital is Tarin Kowt, where one of the decisive battles of the Afghanistan War (2001-) was fought. It has five districts.

Kandahar and Zabul Provinces form its southern borders; they both border Pakistan, as does the western boundary, Helmand Province. Daykundi Province is on the north and Ghazni Province on the east.

The 4th Brigade of the Afghan National Army's 205th Corps is assigned to the provice, which is under International Security Assistance Force Regional Command South; the area of this command has been called the current Taliban stronghold and a center for the drug trade, due to the proximity to Pakistan.

Government

Demographics

The province has a population of about 320,000 and most live in rural areas. The largest ethnic group is the Durrani Pashtun, but there is a significant number of Hazaras as well. The Hazaras are in frequent conflict with the Kuchis.

"Kuchis are most often Pashtuns, but occasionally may be some non-Pashtun ethnicity, such as Baluch. To be a Kuchi is not who one is, or what one does, but what one is. More than a vocation and less than a race, the Kuchi are more appropriately thought of as a caste of nomadic herdsmen...Uruzgan is one of the main summer pasture areas for Kuchi.[1]

Security

The province is the responsibility of the 4th Brigade of the 205th Corps of the Afghan National Army, and is in the Southern Regional Command of the International Security Assistance Force While the key Taliban leadership call themselves "Kandaharis", they actually include Kandahar, Uruzgan, and Helmand Provinces in that definition.

In 2006, while a good deal of the population was sympathetic to the government, they were also concerned by the transfer of International Security Assistance Force responsibility from the US to the Netherlanss. [2]

The Taliban currently control about 60 percent of Uruzgan province, particularly in the rural areas, whereas the government has some control in the cities.[1]

The province still has significant security problems. Kamp Holland, operated by the Netherlands, is the main ISAF military base, with approximately 1,400 Dutch troops, both regular and special operations. They do take part in direct combat operations.[3] Australian troops have been side-by-side with the Dutch; the Dutch expect other nations to become involved in 2008-2010. Australian soldiers have taken part in reconstruction, and will provide security in the upcoming elections. [4]

A job announcement for health personnel, under UN auspices, describes it as having "a high risk of insecurity, very low education level and unavailability or willingness of health staff to work in remote areas of the province. The province is very much depended to health staff from other provinces and to mobilize staff from other areas to Uruzgan is very difficult." [5]

Economic Development

Farming and raising livestock are the main occupations in the province; it is one of the main opium growing provinces.

It has very little infrastructure; an estimated 8% of the population has electricity.

There is a Dutch PRT in the province headquarted in the capital, Tarin Kowt; security issues limit its abilities.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Uruzgan Province, Program for Conflict and Culture Studies, Naval Postgraduate School
  2. Griff Witte (January 30, 2006), "Afghan Province's Problems Underline Challenge for U.S.", Washington Post
  3. Hans de Vreij (August 1, 2008), "Dutch mission in Uruzgan: two years", Radio Netherlands
  4. "Fitzgibbon hits back at Uruzgan troop criticism", ABC News Australia, May 9, 2009
  5. Public Private Partnership Focal Point, Uruzgan, Afghanistan, Healthnet TPO, UN Jobs, April 27, 2009