Last week, WUR managed to pay part of the salary arrears to the teacher training programme in Kabul, Afghanistan.
The 75 employees of the National Agriculture Education College (NAEC) received 9000 dollars to share between them.
The staff are still owed 72,000 dollars in unpaid salary. The remaining amount will probably be transferred to Kabul in instalments over the next few weeks. The money was transferred using an intermediary rather than through a bank.
Normal bank transactions with Afghanistan became impossible when the United States imposed sanctions on payments to the country. That is why WUR could not transfer any money to staff at NAEC. WUR is now investigating whether bank transactions are possible again. Project leader via WUR Hans van Otterloo says the staff at the teacher training centre were delighted with the first salary they had received since last October. ‘“Today we had laughing faces again at NAEC,” the director told me on 10 January.’