The Compass

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Aid Down the Rabbit Hole in Afghanistan

The International Crisis Group relays the latest from Afghanistan:

There is no possibility that any amount of international assistance to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) will stabilise the country in the next three years unless there are significant changes in international strategies, priorities and programs. Nor will the Afghan state be in a position by 2015 to provide basic services to its citizens, further undermining domestic stability. Moreover, a rush to the exit and ill-conceived plans for reconciliation with the insurgency by the U.S. and its allies could threaten such gains as have been achieved in education, health and women’s rights since the Taliban’s ouster.

The amount of international aid disbursed since 2001 – $57 billion against $90 billion pledged – is a fraction of what has been spent on the war effort. More importantly, it has largely failed to fulfil the international community’s pledges to rebuild Afghanistan. Poor planning and oversight have affected projects’ effectiveness and sustainability, with local authorities lacking the means to keep projects running, layers of subcontractors reducing the amounts that reach the ground and aid delivery further undermined by corruption in Kabul and bribes paid to insurgent groups to ensure security for development projects.

Is there any way that Afghanistan will not collapse as NATO starts to draw down? It seems impossible to conceive of any other outcome.