Kabul, February 2013. Traffic anarchy is one of the major problems in Afghanistan, especially in its capital Kabul with a population of over five millions citizens and a rising number of cars jamming the streets. Traffic lights are non-existent or not working, and pedestrians are often run over by cars whilst crossing the busy streets. 2172 traffic accidents have been registered in the past nine months, according to the Traffic Department of Afghanistan. 832 Afghans lost their lives in course, out of which 181 are children. To increase the safety of children, EUPOL is now financing a Road Safety Campaign for in 72 schools in Kabul and other eleven key provinces where EUPOL Afghanistan has or had presence before. The campaign includes the display of traffic campaign posters in ten schools of each of the 12 selected provinces. The framed A3 size posters will shows the very young students “What to do” and “What not to do” while crossing roads, covered with drawings and some explanatory text adjusted to the needs of the children.

Afghan National Police officers will get in touch with school headmasters and install the posters in prominent spots in the schools so the students can access them easily. “This is a small step but an essential one to save the lives of the younger ones,” says EUPOL project manager Ion Gane who initiated a similar campaign last year for schools in Kabul.

The Afghan Traffic Police is well aware of all the risks for the children and cares about prevention. Its chief, Brigadier General Nezamuddin Dad “Khawah”, has more plans on his hand: “We have published 10,000 traffic guidelines books which will be used in the schools in Afghanistan. We even want to include it the training curriculum of the schools but the approval is still pending at the Afghan Ministry of Education.” He wants to see this happen soon. But he is also realistic when it comes to the capacity of the Traffic Police: “Throughout Afghanistan, we only have 3711 traffic police sergeants and officers. With the construction of new towns, institutions and the increasing number of vehicles it is clear that the present number of personnel is insufficient to provide traffic services.”