In yet another criticism of the effectiveness of U.S. aid to Afghanistan, a new report claims that the U.S. government’s largest project in the Islamic nation mainly benefits the Taliban instead of civilians.
Half of the electricity produced by the U.S.-backed $100 million Kajaki hydropower dam project in Helmand goes to Taliban territory, according to a policy brief by Mark Moyar, a former professor at the Marine Corps University.
In the brief, Moyar recommended that U.S. aid to Afghanistan “be slashed immediately,” The Canadian Press reports. He said aid should target short-term security goals, rather than long-term democratization or infrastructure plans. Aid funding, he added, should be used to sway Afghan allegiance toward U.S. security goals, citing as example the positive impacts of U.S. aid channeled through local Iraqi elites in exchange for their support against al-Qaida and anti-government forces.
“Afghanistan is a hierarchical society and elites make the decisions,” yet most U.S. aid operations circumvent them, said Moyar, whose report will be published in the online scholarly publication Small Wars Journal this week.
An earlier report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office also noted the lack of a U.S. interagency water strategy for Afghanistan, while research by the U.S.-based newspaper publisher McClatchy Co. indicated that the U.S. was channeling aid money to high-profile yet flawed projects in the Islamic nation.
Read more about U.S. development aid.