Wall Street Journal Looks At Challenges Facing U.S. Aid Operations In Pakistan

“A massive U.S. aid program that has made Pakistan the world’s second-largest recipient of American economic and development assistance is facing serious challenges, people involved in the effort say,” the Wall Street Journal reports in an article detailing the difficulties.

The article highlights challenges that have arisen since the death of diplomat Richard Holbrooke, who was the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Holbrooke died in December “after ordering major changes to the way aid is distributed in Pakistan. U.S. officials say his policy changes will continue. … In all, USAID-funded projects involving foreign organizations worth almost $200 million have been scrapped due to the new strategy. Other projects were denied new money,” the newspaper reports.

“U.S. officials contend that the previous reliance on foreign contractors bred ill will among Pakistanis, who saw them spending lavishly on houses and cars. The new approach, they say, involves the Pakistani government more in how the money is spent, a move intended to improve often testy relations between Washington and Islamabad. Some nongovernmental organizations have objected to the new direction” because of concerns about safety.

The article also examines why some Pakistanis have not been receptive to American aid and looks at how the CIA’s program to use drones “to kill al Qaeda and Taliban fighters” has affected attitudes towards Americans (Wright, 1/21).