Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Oxfam calls on U.S. to spend more on development aid in Afghanistan

The money that the United States spends on aid work in Afghanistan is much less than what is spent by the American military and too much of it simply pays the high salaries of expatriate employees, the international aid agency Oxfam said on November 20, as reported by The Associated Press the same day.

According to the article: “Though the government aid arm U.S. Agency for International Development has spent more than $4.4 billion in Afghanistan since 2002, British aid agency Oxfam said that figure is dwarfed by U.S. military spending here — some $35 billion in 2007 alone.”

“As in Iraq, too much aid is absorbed by profits of companies and subcontractors, on non-Afghan resources and on high expatriate salaries and living costs,” said the report, which was prepared for a British parliament committee. “Each full-time expatriate consultant costs up to half a million dollars a year.”

“The report said ‘urgent action’ is needed to avert humanitarian disaster and that millions of rural Afghans face ‘severe hardship comparable with sub-Saharan Africa,’” the article says.

The report also called for donors to improve the efficiency of aid work through greater use of Afghan resources. “Some two-thirds of U.S. foreign assistance bypasses the Afghan government that officials say they want to strengthen,” Oxfam said.

According to the article: “The group said the education and health sectors in Afghanistan have improved dramatically since 2001, but that more work needs to be done. It noted that though school enrollment is up, only 50 percent of boys and 20 percent of girls attend primary school. The numbers drop to 20 percent and 5 percent, respectively, for high school classes.” It adds: “Of 220 schools in Daykundi province, it said, only 28 have buildings. Of 1,000 teachers, only two are professionally qualified.”

There have been record levels of violence in Afghanistan this year, with more than 6,000 people have been killed in insurgency related violence, according to an Associated Press count based on figures from Western and Afghan officials.

For the full article, click here.

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