A decade of Western aid in Afghanistan – mission unsustainable?

Mohammad Hussain poses for a picture inside his grape farm in Parwan province December 13, 2014. CREDIT: REUTERS/MOHAMMAD ISMAIL

(Reuters) – Afghanistan has new roads, sections of which many deem too dangerous to use. It has a turbine to fill electricity needs that remains in pieces. Sixteen transport planes given to the Air Force were scrapped having barely flown.

Afghan farmer Mohammad Malik stands outside his grape pitfall which was build by USAID project in ParwanAfghan farmer Mohammad Malik stands outside his grape pitfall which was build by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) project in Parwan province December 13, 2014.

International aid has been the mainstay of the Afghan economy since the Taliban were ousted in 2001, and donors, chiefly the United States, have plenty to show for tens of billions of dollars they poured into the war-ravaged nation.

Yet for all the success of cities rising from the rubble and boys and girls flocking to schools, there are frequent examples of aid poorly spent, with little regard for the long term viability of projects once money taps are turned off.

Take Mohammad Nasir, a farmer in his 70s who was recommended to Reuters by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as an example of its success in Afghanistan.

Nasir earns over three times the national average wage of around $650 a year, thanks largely to U.S. money that covered most of the cost of the concrete trellises on which his grapes grow near Kabul.

Yet once the USAID project finishes this month, even its contractor says the program may be unsustainable. USAID had hoped farmers would copy the expensive, built-to-last structures with local resources, but new techniques have yet to catch on.

“I don’t think it will be possible for them (farmers) to do it by themselves,” said Amanullah Sahak, regional coordinator for the Commercial Horticulture and Agricultural Marketing Program…


Why are Muslims so incompetent?  Inbreeding?  

And jeez, I wish they would stop calling so many boys ‘Mohammed’. It really makes it hard to try match the photos to the names.   Neither photo of a Mohammed appears to the Mohammed in the example.  (There are more pix at the link but I am out of time.)

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