U.S. Aid To Afghanistan Unlikely To Produce Lasting Change, Congressional Report Says

“Much of the $19 billion in foreign aid that the United States has pumped into Afghanistan in the past decade may be fueling development on the ground in the short term, but is unlikely to produce change that will last once U.S. troops depart, according to a new congressional report,” the Christian Science Monitor reports (Mulrine, 6/8).

The report “from the Democratic majority in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee … warns that because ‘an estimated 97 percent of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product (GDP) is derived from spending related to the international military and donor community presence … Afghanistan could suffer a severe economic depression when foreign troops leave in 2014 unless the proper planning begins now,'” NPR’s blog “The Two Way” reports (Memmott, 6/8).

The report says “U.S. development projects in Afghanistan should be reexamined … to determine whether they are ‘necessary, achievable, and sustainable,'” the Washington Post writes. Multi-year funding for U.S. aid programs should reflect planning for increased civilian responsibility after U.S. troop levels fall, the report recommends. It also suggests “a simple rule: donors should not implement projects if Afghans cannot sustain them” (DeYoung, 6/7).

In response to the report, USAID said in a statement: “We agree that ‘cutting back our foreign aid budgets is not the most prudent solution,’ and that USAID and the State Department must have the resources necessary to ensure an effective transition as the military draws down” (6/8).