Afghanistan aid delivery shortfall a security risk
An international agency's report says 40 percent of aid destined for Afghans is spent on overhead costs.
Humanitarian agencies say peace in Afghanistan, a key battleground in combating Islamic militancy, is being undermined by a $10 billion shortfall in aid deliveries, with the United States among those failing to heed their pledges. Ninety percent of public spending in Afghanistan comes from international aid, and the shortfall could exacerbate critical security issues, which have already hindered the delivery of aid money.Skip to next paragraph
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The report, by Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief (ACBAR), a 95-member coalition of private agencies, said that about $15 billion had been spent so far to rebuild war-torn Afghanistan. But an estimated 40 percent of that money spent went to foreign consultants, private security contractors, and other overheads – a "staggering" proportion, according to the report.
The aid money is in addition to foreign military spending. NATO counties have about 41,000 troops in Afghanistan, where many face off against Taliban fighters and other factions opposed to foreign intervention. NATO countries, which have squabbled in recent months over their troops levels, meet next week in Bucharest, Romania. At the summit, France is expected to announce a sharp increase in its contingent, currently at 1,500 personnel, while pressing NATO for a broader political strategy to help stabilize Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, a close ally of Afghan President Hamid Karzai has told the BBC that local communities should take over the fight against the Taliban. Education Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar said NATO should not send more troops to Afghanistan, but instead focus on training Afghans to combat militants, something he called the "Afghanization" of security. He said this strategy had already worked in southeastern provinces where the Taliban are active.
In its report, ACBAR identifies the major donors to Afghanistan as the US, the European Union, the World Bank, several European countries, and Japan. It compares the $25 billion pledged to rebuild Afghanistan in the wake of the 2001 overthrow of the Taliban government with the amount of actual money spent so far.