Tuesday, 6 July 2010

US to Reduce Afghan Aid

A US House of Representatives panel has voted to cut almost $4 billion (£2.68bn) in aid to the Afghanistan government after allegations of corruption. The panel's chair, Nita Lowey, said the aid could be reconsidered once the Afghanistan government's efforts to fight corruption have been reconsidered.

Last week the Wall Street Journal reported that more than $3 billionn in cash has been flown out of Kabul International airport in the past three years, while the Washington Post alleged that officials in Karzai's government have been blocking corruption investigations of political allies.

'The cash - packed into suitcases, piled onto pallets and loaded into aeroplanes - is declared and legal to move,' said the Wall Street Journal.

To put this into perspective, the United States is currently spending $7 billion a month on the Afghan war.

Meantime in the UK, we have a Defence Secretary who is determined to commit our troops for many years of fighting in that country.

"Were we to leave prematurely, without degrading the insurgency and increasing the capability of the Afghan national security forces, we could see the return of the destructive forces of transnational terror," he said.

"Not only would we risk the return of civil war in Afghanistan, creating a security vacuum, but we would also risk the destabilisation of Pakistan with potentially unthinkable regional, and possibly nuclear, consequences."

Does Liam Fox not understand that Afghanistan will never be 'secure'? Hasn't he read the report (which may have been a factor in his firing) by the recently sacked General McChrystal? After nine years McChrystal warns that: 'only 5 areas out of 116 assessed were classed as secure and under full authority, or enjoying sustainable growth. More than 40 areas are described as dangerous or unsecure'. Even NATO is playing down success.

Reducing financial aid, changing the general in charge and tinkering with the controls will not bring victory in Afghanistan. 'Victory' will only come when we face up to our own limitations - and bring our troops home. Liam Fox needs to understand that.


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