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US' ambitious Afghan nation-building programs may not be sustainable after withdrawal: Report

June 8, 2011 - Washington

The hugely expensive Afghan nation-building programs initiated by the US have had limited success and might not be sustainable after the American withdrawal of forces, and that the overflow of cash in the country could distort local culture and economies, the findings of a two-year congressional investigation have revealed.

Although the report, completed over two years by Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that while the use of aid money was to stabilize areas the military has cleared of Taliban fighters, it warns that the enormous cash flows can overwhelm and distort local culture and economies, the Washington Post reports.

It cited an example of the Performance-Based Governors Fund that is authorized to distribute up to 100,000 dollars a month in U.S. funds to individual provincial leaders for use on local expenses and development projects, saying that local officials are incapable of 'spending it wisely.'

This encourages corruption in some provinces, the report said, adding that although the Afghan Government eventually plans to take over this and other programs from the US, it has neither the management capacity nor the funds to do so.

It warned that Afghanistan could slide into a depression with the inevitable decline of the foreign military and development spending, which currently contributes to 97 percent of the country's gross domestic product.

It also urged the Obama administration to stop paying Afghans "inflated salaries" to work for foreign governments and contractors, saying that such practices have "drawn otherwise qualified civil servants away from the Afghan government and created a culture of aid dependency."


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