2003 July 28 Monday
US To Give Afghanistan $1 Billion In Aid In Next Year

The US is going to triple aid to Afghanistan.

The $1 billion package, which more than triples the $300 million Afghanistan receives, represents new spending on Afghanistan and is designed to fund projects that can be completed within a year to have maximum impact on the lives of the Afghan people before scheduled elections in October 2004, the officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Another motivation for the increased spending appears to be a need to make Afghanistan look better given the continuing problems in Iraq.

The U.S. government was eager to point to Afghanistan as a success story as it faced difficulty in getting the situation in Iraq under control, officials said. It was also anxious that Hamid Karzai, the moderate, U.S.-backed Afghan president, should notch up more achievements before elections, due in June 2004.

In a nutshell: Afghanistan will benefit because Iraq is a mess.

The US has been slow to send promised aid to Afghanistan (and the same is true of other countries which promised aid).

Congress authorized $3.3 billion in financial and military assistance over four years in the fall of 2001, but only about $300 million of that has been spent so far.

None of the money seems to be allocated for better security.

But Afghan officials said there had been no talk of expanding peacekeeping operations, which are currently confined to Kabul.

This is unfortunate. The US ought to solicit bids from private security organisations for what it would cost to bring some measure of security to various regions of Afghanistan. Another possibility would be to ask for bids for security forces that would protect aid workers and specific projects.

US officials are trying to spin this as a response to unfulfilled promises made by other countries.

The announcement later this year reflects administration frustration with ``unfulfilled'' pledges from other countries, the official said.

But, hey, it is also a response to unfulfilled promises made by the United States government.

Given how low salaries are in Afghanistan a relatively small amount of money would pay for a lot of local police workers.

Police and other key government employees lack the basic tools -- such as cars and radios -- to do their jobs. Many haven't been paid for months

Meanwhile, the reason for recent clashes between Pakistani and Afghani military forces (including missiles fired into Pakistan) is probably Afghan anger at Pakistani toleration of Taliban operations from Pakistan into Afghanistan.

Recent tension between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which heightened with the border clashes and the Quetta massacre of Shias, have forced afghan President Hamid Karzai and even US officials to ask Islamabad not to allow its territory to be used by Taliban and other terrorist elements, media reports have said.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 July 28 10:06 AM  Chaotic Regions


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