US Aid in Afghanistan: Senate Committee on Foregin Relations Report

Released on June 8th, 2011, this Senate report (chaired by John Kerry) details the use of US taxpayer money in civilian aid programs in Afghanistan, a country that receives more US aid than any other in the world. The money is used as part of the Obama administrations ‘civil-military’ strategy.

Some touching points from the Executive Summary:

  • $18.8 billion spent over past 10 years
  • The State Department and USAID spend
    $320 million a month on foreign aid in Afghanistan to win ‘hearts and minds’
  • 80 percent of USAID’s resources are spent
    in Afghanistan’s restive south and east, for ‘short-term’ stabilization programs, at the expense of longer term development.
  • “The evidence that stabilization programs promote stability in Af-
    ghanistan is limited. Some research suggests the opposite, and de-
    velopment best practices question the efficacy of using aid as a sta-
    bilization tool over the long run. As discussed below, the unin-
    tended consequences of pumping large amounts of money into a
    war zone cannot be underestimated.” p.2.
  • “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. 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. Afghanistan
    could suffer a severe economic depression when foreign troops leave
    in 2014 unless the proper planning begins now.” p.2

The full report can be found here.

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