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Afghanistan: Reconstruction

Volume 496: debated on Thursday 16 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development who is responsible for the reconstruction and development programme following the completion of Operation Panther's Claw in Helmand; and how much funding (a) his Department and (b) other agencies have allocated for the programme. (287271)

Support to reconstruction and development in Helmand is led by an interdepartmental, civilian-military, multinational provincial reconstruction team (PRT), led by a UK Senior Representative from the Foreign Office. Four staff members of the Department for International Development (DFID) are integrated into the Helmand PRT.

DFID core funding for Helmand this year is £18 million, which will include programmes benefiting the Babaji population such as agriculture support, basic infrastructure, and a major road.

The PRT has developed a stabilisation plan around Operation Panther's Claw and the Babaji area. This includes work on supporting the Afghan Government to establish itself in cleared areas, to deliver health, education and policing services and to set up polling stations for the elections in August. The cross-Government stabilisation aid fund has set aside almost £15 million for district stabilisation across Helmand this year.

The Asian Development Bank has pledged $50 million to co-fund two major infrastructure projects with DFID: a road linking Lashkar Gah and Gereshk (which goes around Babaji) and a hydro-power plant in Gereshk (also funded by Denmark). USAID will deliver a major agricultural programme across Helmand over the next year.