Moderator in SFF, Notebooks, Pre-Built/Barebones
- Aug 23, 2003
Another example of how Iraq has taken our eye off the ball. Afghanistan, unlike Iraq, actually wanted our help in building a democracy and restoring their society. But anyone can figure out that Afghanistan isn't going to recover when we're spending $100 million per day on military operations (that have failed to eliminate al-Qaeda and the Taliban since 2001) while only spending $7 million per day in aid.
Western countries have failed to deliver 10 billion dollars' in promised aid to Afghanistan, undermining prospects for peace that depend on development, according to a report released Tuesday.
About 40 percent of the aid that does arrive returns to rich countries in corporate profits and high consultant costs, according to the Agency Coordinating Body For Afghan Relief (ACBAR) report.
The funds going towards reconstruction are, meanwhile, just "a fraction" of military expenditure, with 25 billion dollars spent on security-related assistance, such as building the Afghan security force, since 2001.
The US military spends about a 100 million dollars a day in Afghanistan, while the average volume of international aid from all donors since 2001 is just seven million dollars a day, the ACBAR document "Falling Short" says.
The international community had pledged 25 billion dollars to Afghanistan since 2001, when the extremist Taliban government was removed from power, it says.
However, "just 15 billion dollars in aid has so far been spent, of which it is estimated a staggering 40 percent has returned to donor countries in corporate profits and consultant salaries," it says.
"For example, a road between the centre of Kabul and the international airport cost the United States more than 2.3 million dollars per kilometre, at least four times the average cost of building a road in Afghanistan."
Most full-time expatriate consultants working for private companies in Afghanistan cost 250,000 to 500,000 dollars a year, including salary, allowances and associated costs, ACBAR says.
The United States is the biggest donor to Afghanistan, contributing one-third of all aid since 2001.
But it also has one of the biggest shortfalls, with the Afghan government saying it delivered only half of its 10.4-billion-dollar commitment between 2002 and 2008, ACBAR says.
Similarly the Afghan government reports the European Commission and Germany distributed less than two-thirds of their respective 1.7-billion-dollar and 1.2-billion-dollar commitments, the document says.
The World Bank was listed as distributing just over half of its 1.6-billion-dollar commitment, while Britain has pledged 1.45 billion dollars and distributed 1.3 billion dollars.
"Increasing insecurity and criminality is jeopardising progress in Afghanistan," the report says.
"With low government revenues, international assistance constitutes around 90 percent of all public expenditure in the country," it says.
"Thus how it is spent has an enormous impact on the lives of almost all Afghans and will determine the success of reconstruction and development."
The report says the shortfalls could be partly attributed to "challenging operating conditions, high levels of corruption and weak absorption capacities -- and government data may not capture all donor spending."
However, it showed the importance of donors increasing efforts to work with such problems.
"Given the slow pace of progress in Afghanistan, and the links between poverty and conflict, the international community must urgently get its act together," says author Matt Waldman an advisor with the British charity, Oxfam.