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Report: US aid could be destabilizing Afghanistan in the long term

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Limited, it turns out, may be a bit of an understatement. The report goes on to warn that the large influx of money into the country may drive inflationary salaries (as much as 10 times the salary for an average Afghan worker) and pervasive corruption in the short term. In the long term, it may contribute to an economic collapse for Afghanistan if the country cannot afford to continue the programs that the US and other countries have started after international troops leave.

“We must challenge the assumption that our stabilization programs in their current form necessarily contribute to stability,” Sen. John Kerry (D) of Massachusetts, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement Tuesday.

According to the World Bank, 97 percent of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product comes from foreign aid, including spending by the US military and international donors.

The report raises questions about the effectiveness of US aid to Afghanistan – for which President Obama has requested $3.2 billion in fiscal year 2012. At a time when the United States is facing its own economic crisis, some senators question whether such huge outlays are wise.

“Our geo-strategic interests are threatened not just by terrorism, but by debt, economic competition, energy and food prices, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and numerous other forces,” Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, the committee’s top Republican, said Tuesday. “Solving these problems will be much more difficult if we devote too many resources to one country that historically has frustrated nation-building experiments.”

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