US Aid to Afghanistan: Cursed by American "Generosity"

Senate Foreign Relations Committee report on the sad uses of American aid reveals "The unintended consequences of pumping large amounts of money into a war zone cannot be underestimated."

The Aghanistan economy is now dependent on foreign aid, distoring local market, and crippling innovation while cementing corruption.

According to the World Bank, an estimated 97 percent of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product (GDP) is derived from spending related to the international military and donor community presence.  Ironically, albeit not surprisingly, the World Bank is also fond of bragging about contributing to Afghanistan's economic growth of 20%.

The report said evidence is limited that development helps stabilize territory—a key tenet of the coalition's counterinsurgency strategy. "Foreign aid, when misspent, can fuel corruption, distort labor and goods markets, undermine the host government's ability to exert control over resources, and contribute to insecurity," the report concluded.

A study by Stuart Gordon, an expert in Afghan development at think tank Chatham House, showed that many in Helmand saw aid benefiting only specific tribes and propping up existing elites. The corruption this can encourage has often delegitimized the very government it is supposed to boost confidence in, said Mr. Wilder.

Since January of 2010, the U.S. military has spent $1.3 billion alone in Marjah, Helmand. “Foreign aid expenditures by the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development in Afghanistan,” the Post explains, add up to about about $320 million a month, which itself “pales beside the overall $10 billion monthly price tag for U.S. military operations.”

What We Are Buying in Afghanistan
(June 8, 2011)
New Yorker, by Amy Davidson
Read more

Trouble Seen in Aghan Aid Usage (June 8, 2011)
Wall Street Journal by Alistair Macdonald
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Afghan Effort Not Sustainable (June 7, 2011)
Washington Post by Karen DeYoung
Read More