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Should the U.S. cut aid to Afghan?

WASHINGTON – By pumping more than $100 million into a hydropower plant, the United States sought to improve the lives of Afghans and win the hearts and minds of tribesmen and farmers who might otherwise turn to the Taliban insurgency. Instead, a prominent outside Pentagon adviser argues, the bungled boondoggle ended up funding the insurgents while doing little to help the United States end the war and bring troops home.

The story of the Kajaki dam, the largest U.S. aid project in Afghanistan, is emblematic of the U.S. government's failing approach to development aid in Afghanistan, according to a policy brief by Mark Moyar, a former professor at the Marine Corps University and frequent consultant to U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan and the Mideast.

Development aid "should be slashed immediately," Moyar concludes. Less money should be accompanied by a narrower focus away from common good programs designed to lift the whole of Afghan society and accompanied by clearer security objectives behind each program, Moyar said.

Moyar's critique of the U.S. approach to aid and development in the nearly 10-year-old war will appear this week in an online scholarly publication, Small Wars Journal, which is widely read by military officers and academics.

He argues that grand gestures such as the dam have flopped, largely because development spending does little to increase popular support during an insurgency. Half the electricity from the project in the volatile Helmand province goes to Taliban territory, enabling America's enemies to issue power bills and grow the poppies that finance their insurgency, he says.

The assessment challenges basics of counterinsurgency theory as the spring fighting season in Afghanistan approaches and American commanders claim tactical gains ahead of the planned start of a U.S. withdrawal in July. And it comes amid questions over how the process will play out in provinces like Helmand and Kandahar, where the U.S. has devoted large amounts of money to areas it has struggled to control.

Answer Question

Asked by sweet-a-kins at 8:40 AM on Mar. 2, 2011 in Politics & Current Events

Level 34 (67,502 Credits)
Answers (4)
  • sweet-a-kins

    Comment by sweet-a-kins (original poster) at 8:55 AM on Mar. 2, 2011

  • I say cut the aid cause as of right now we need to be helping our own country if we spend all of our resources helping others then we are not going to be able to help ourselves.

    Answer by mrssundin at 10:08 AM on Mar. 2, 2011

  • Absolutely. Afghanistan is a wasted effort. What do we have to show for this except bodies of our soldiers? They want to start bringing them home this summer having accomplished what?

    Answer by itsmesteph11 at 10:54 AM on Mar. 2, 2011

  • Yes. We have just about reached the limit of what we can do there and I think it is one of the saddest stories there is. There are some wonderful people over there that think America is the greatest thing in the history of the world. However, Afghanistan is hampered by its lack of an economy....all they have is drugs and the military. This isn't sustainable. There is no industry to speak and most citizens live in extreme poverty. It is a sad sad thing when someone that only makes $300.00 a month has to pay a bribe to get into the door of his workplace every day.

    There isn't much that can be done either. Afghanistan is a virtual wasteland with little to no resources. There is nothing to build a sustainable economy on.

    Answer by yourspecialkid at 11:48 AM on Mar. 2, 2011

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