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Afghanistan aid delivery shortfall a security risk

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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.

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.

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