An unfinished $1 million power canal in Afghanistan’s Badakhshan Province is part of a larger $60 million USAID project that largely failed in its goal to win hearts and minds in efforts through postwar rebuilding. Monique Jaques/Special to The Christian Science Monitor
Faizabad is the capital of the remote northeastern Badakhshan Province. Many residents are angry at the US over the failures in the four-year development project by a USAID contractor. Monique Jaques/Special to The Christian Science Monitor
The American contractor, PADCO, claims to have tripled electric power for Faizabad. Its promises to repair or replace existing hydropower turbines did not happen. PADCO repaired this turbine, but it broke within days. The city is left with pre project levels of power. Monique Jaques/Special to The Christian Science Monitor
Through improved seeds and training, PADCO helped farmers bring in bumper crops of vegetables and grain. But that success scored few points with locals who were upset by other project failures and the belief that the company’s seeds introduced a destructive pest to the region. Monique Jaques/Special to The Christian Science Monitor
The pesky Colorado potato beetle devours potato leaves. Experts say there’s plenty of evidence that the bug was in the region before the PADCO project. Monique Jaques/Special to The Christian Science Monitor
A 14-kilometer dirt road linking Faizabad and the village of Argo was paved, but three months later deteriorating asphalt left it in a worse state than before the attempted upgrade. Monique Jaques/Special to The Christian Science Monitor
Chador-cloaked women stroll the Argo road, which is so hard to drive on that large delivery trucks cannot use it. The result is increased delivery costs to the Argo bazaar – and a 25 percent increase in prices for locals. Monique Jaques/Special to The Christian Science Monitor
A bright spot in the battle to rebuild Afghanistan: a girl fills a jug with spring water transported through four miles of pipe to the village of Kor Kah. The water project was funded by the National Solidarity Program (NSP), which requires the recipients to vote how to spend the money. Monique Jaques/Special to The Christian Science Monitor
Children hop over one of the many canals running through Kor Kah. Before the cleaner, pipe-based solution was installed, villagers say, they were often sickened by the water retrieved from canals and a nearby river Monique Jaques/Special to The Christian Science Monitor
Naz Anin (second from right) and fellow villagers in Uland voted to build a micro-hydro-pump with NSP money. Village households have electricity for the first time. Monique Jaques/Special to The Christian Science Monitor
Aid agencies post signs reminding people in the village of Sundra, on the Faizabad road, that they’ve sponsored many projects there. One USAID sign states that this “has been improved” with Afghan government assistance “to reduce travel time and improve safety.” For many who know the road is worse than it was before it was “improved,” the sign is a reminder of broken US promises. Monique Jaques/Special to The Christian Science Monitor
Today's announcement of restored diplomatic ties between Cuba and the US comes after five decades of antagonism, including the 54-year-old US trade embargo against the Communist island. The Christian Science Monitor covered the embargo from the start.
ByBertram B. Johansson, Latin America Writer
Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff/File
Today, President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced that the United States and Cuba are restoring diplomatic ties after five decades of antagonism. The US has maintained a trade embargo against Cuba since Oct. 19, 1960. Below is The Christian Science Monitor's story from that day.