August 4th, 2011
07:05 PM ET

Think tank warns: No Afghan stability without overhaul of aid programs

As the 10-year anniversary of September 11, 2001, approaches, a major think tank is warning the decade-long effort in Afghanistan has failed to stabilize the country and will continue to falter without a major overhaul in international assistance.

In a report released Thursday, the International Crisis Group says that strategies have focused too much on military objectives and not enough on development - for example, the counter-insurgency military strategy adopted in the 2009 troop surge to fight the expanding Taliban insurgency has not achieved a politically stable and economically viable Afghanistan.

Even as the international community plans to hand over security to the Afghans and withdraw all foreign forces by the end of 2014, the report warns "there is no possibility that any amount of international assistance to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) will stabilize the country in the next three years unless there are significant changes in international strategies, priorities and programs. Nor will the Afghan state be in a position by 2015 to provide basic services to its citizens, further undermining domestic stability."

Despite billions of dollars in humanitarian and development assistance and a boost in civilian personnel to accompany the troop surge, ICG says that the increased civilian presence that accompanied the troop surge was focused too much on delivering quick results.

The report, "Aid and Conflict in Afghanistan," details poorly planned aid programs that are pegged to demonstrating progress on short-term military objectives to route out the Taliban, rather than building good governance and strong institutions that guarantee security and deliver basic services to the people.

Much of the aid is not filtered from the government of President Hamid Karzai in Kabul to the provincial and district level. The programs have neither the input, nor the oversight from local Afghan officials to ensure they are meeting the people's needs and they are undermined by corruption in Kabul. This means local authorities are not gaining the capacity or the means to keep projects running over the long term.

"The impact of international assistance will remain limited unless donors, particularly the largest, the U.S., stop subordinating programming to counter-insurgency objectives, devise better mechanisms to monitor implementation, adequately address corruption and wastage of aid funds, and ensure that recipient communities identify needs and shape assistance policies," the report says.

ICG also warned the insurgency is spreading to areas that have been traditionally regarded as safe. This lack of security can further hamper the delivery of humanitarian aid and services and undermine the meager reconstruction and development achievements that have been made.

Additionally, it maintains that "a rush to the exit and ill-conceived plans for reconciliation with the insurgency by the U.S. and its allies could threaten such gains as have been achieved in education, health and women's rights since the Taliban's ouster."

soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. ClarkClurn

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    March 1, 2021 at 3:32 am | Reply
  2. GuQin

    There is noticeably a bundle to learn about this. I assume you made certain nice factors in options also.

    December 31, 2020 at 5:36 am | Reply
  3. Hairstyles

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    December 30, 2020 at 11:27 pm | Reply
  4. urlaub lastminute

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    December 31, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Reply
  5. carib

    Afganistan is a lost cause,waste of money and lives by all countries involved.Osama is dead, that was the purpose of going in there.The money that is wasted on corrupt afghanistan by america,britain,canada and others can be spent at home to get out the mess it is in at home.Afghanistan will always be corrupt afghanistan


    August 12, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Reply
    • Krauser

      Waste of money? Afghanistan is sitting on one of the largest rare earth mineral deposits in the world. You know those things that make your computers, cell phones, electric cars, and nearly everything else work in modern society. China is decreasing their export of rare-earth minerals. A lot of countries are dieing for a piece of that action. War for profit. It's plain as day.

      November 3, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Reply
  6. Let's not Stop There...

    Let's understand a little about Afghanistan for the past 50 years before we go on and postulate that the money needs to be spent differently to be effective. There is nothing about recent history in Afghanistan that should lead us to believe that development in the western view of the term is a high priority.Skimming off of programs is a priority, individuals getting rish is a priority, but the "development" of a country, no where on the list.

    August 12, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Reply
  7. dog4dog

    that think tank must be as stupid as it gets, the us can't afford to boost their economy – what they need to do is capitalize on the afghanistan economy – opium – the dea should take over and sell heroin to everyone except america, rule as a dicttor and build the country up while "westernizing" the rest – but the real problem is the taliban – they sleep, eat, train and plan in pakistan's wild west – the air force could kill them all in the next 15 minutes

    August 11, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Reply
    • Seraphim0

      Because that's not a ridiculous statement to make.

      August 12, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Reply
      • dog4dog

        whats ridiculous about that – you find out who the worlds drug dealers are and kill off the oposition in a mere moment – then a month later pakistan would be happy for no more terrorist

        August 14, 2011 at 7:41 am |
    • riddy q

      I am sure that the Western World will now proceed immediately to "kill them all in 15 minutes". Thank you so much for pointing that out!!

      August 14, 2011 at 10:15 pm | Reply
  8. Cherish

    The resources would have to be sold to USA. We are far better to get them through peaceful means if possible. There men rather than dying fighting could be mining and working and so could ours. The USA would be so wealthy had it not gone to war. The USA must rebuild to afford to buy the world resources. It is simple economics.

    August 11, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Reply
  9. lliam

    Many countries and cultures are based upon what they do have as opposed to what they don't. It isn't right, or wrong; that's just he way it is. No matter how many people die, or how much money is spent, it will all wear down and go back to the way it has been for 10's of thousands of year. To expect anything more is our 'cultural' foolishness.

    August 8, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Reply
    • Michael E. Thaman Jr.

      Thank you, someone with a brain. We did what we wanted/needed to do, now its time to bounce.... If anything we are just upsetting these people even more by sticking around. It is like a girl who comes to your house for a one night stand and stays for a week. Even though you tell her to leave she isn't going to and doesn't want to. You have to pretend to be nice to her, and in the end she will not change the way you live or who you are.

      Lets support ourselves for once. Instead of trying to be world police lets tend to one of the many problems that could turn into a big one soon like the infrastructure.

      August 10, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Reply
  10. Grace,Peace & Truth PLEASE

    Wasting my time once again on a post that no one will read. However an idea is but a seed planted if it is shared. Should these things come to pass, the;Architect will without doubt be a politician. Reasons to hate are many, however many there may be, there are many more to which the entire Muslem community could agree and quell their fears of the foreign occupiers, To insure sovernity and provide the liberty of life and the pursuit of happyness to all. The Arab Nations for purposes of combating gross inhumanities are probably better off being divided, that the pulse of the people may be felt. However it is this writers opinion that one arab nation made up of all the presently existing nations would be able to address all concerns. A National Military made up troops from countries of the middle east to combat opposition, terrorists and invaders. Although present prevailing tensons among factions do not support any kind of alliance other than those the protesters are demomstrating to their existing governments.

    August 8, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Reply
    • Thereik1


      August 10, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Reply
  11. Disgusted

    Did Afghanistan ask for US help??? I don't think so! The US is there because they have caught their hands in some of Afghanistan's best resources. The US could careless about anything else.
    In response to "CHEESE", why would the US be there to punish Afghans for 911??? They were not involved in that, Osama closed his eyes and decidedto hide in a war torn country and thought that no one would come looking for him there. Poor Afghanistan got involved when they did not want to, it was beyond their control.
    To those of u who think Afghanistan was involved in Sept 11, please go educate urselves first, and then talk crap. Racist retards!

    Typo up there**** Afghanistan's NATURAL resources.

    August 6, 2011 at 11:22 am | Reply
    • wanshaer

      That wasn't the only typo, jackass. Before using the language, learn it. As for your statements: The Afghan Gov. was run by the Taliban and that group knowingly harbored Al Qaeda. Who would suggest we go after?

      “Poor Afghanistan…” Are you kidding me? I hope to god you’re talking about the citizenry and not the government. And I feel the need to remind you that the organization in power (by force) was the flipping Taliban! They are not good people. They abused and bullied the Afghan people. Countries fight and it doesn’t mean that every citizen believes in ‘this’ or ‘that’. However, ultimately something needs to be done. Or perhaps we should put our heads in holes and just hope things get better? Going to war is not racist as you suggest.

      Not that any person has time to correct you on every point you make but this is a gem. You say “Educate urselves” then in the next sentence call people “retards”. Please do not have children, vote, speak with people, post comments, or do anything for that matter until you educate yourself, retard.

      August 8, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Reply
  12. cheese

    The premise that Afghanistan needs an overhaul in aid is nonsense.

    The ISAF has been focusing on infrastructure for the past decade and what has worked? Salaries to Afghan workers are extorted by the Taliban, infrastructure projects are destroyed by the Taliban because US soldiers cannot fire on those idiots out of the fear of "harming civilians".

    America must not forget its mission. America is there to punish the Afghans for hiding the people who perpetrated 9/11. NOT to rebuild their country. A decade and trillions of dollars on two wars with a misguided strategy did nothing.

    Reduce Afghanistan to ruins and leave. Why build their country for them? Some cultures just need another thousand years or so to emerge from the Dark Ages.

    August 6, 2011 at 10:54 am | Reply
    • Notarespectorofpersons

      To think that the United States of America can go into a muslim country and restructure it by "aid" , with or without a permanent huge contingent of troops on the ground, is pure fantasy. Guess what? The people of the country may not like their leaders...but they better be muslim and a puppet of noone, especially any ally to Israel, or even with an infidel religion. Except to inflict punishment for 9/11, there was never a chance, not the remotest chance, that anything lasting or good would come out of the U.S. effort in Afganistan, except one thing and it is actually a very important thing. It is this: Every nation or entity in the world was put on high alert that you harbor enemies of the U.S. that actually harm the U.S., your days are numbered. I hope that explicit message has not been too watered down in the last couple years. I believe its the major reason that the U.S. has not been severely attacked again, even numerous times, since 9/11, and we should all be thankful for that.

      August 8, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Reply
    • Nunya Bitness

      Some societies haven't evolved like others. Try living in one of these foreign countries. The locals will make you crazy with ignorance and a lack of common sense. They still have witch doctors and rely on superstitions. Western Culture is more advanced in every way... and is being dissolved my multiculturalism.

      August 8, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Reply
    • brown

      Right on!

      August 8, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Reply
  13. Erik Wassenich

    Stability (Afghan typical stability) will come to Afghanistan after all troops have left and not one more dollar flows into that country. Also no more money for Pakistan! The Pakistani give US aid to the Taliban (Pashtun to Pashtun) who buy weapons and munition to shoot at American soldiers. This conflict is the product of the US military/industrial complex typically supplying both sides. It can only be hoped that the US bankruptcy will force an end to all this!

    August 6, 2011 at 6:01 am | Reply
  14. ram

    No stability for hundreds of years after the hornet's nest was raided by Bush and his gang. Live with it man! Now we all have to look over our shoulders all the time. Pray! Jesus saves!

    August 6, 2011 at 2:23 am | Reply
  15. whatislife

    so reduce are spending stop over sea's aid help the people at home first

    August 6, 2011 at 2:08 am | Reply
    • ram

      Have you noticed that all the Big powerful countries that try to control other countries are in deep financial trouble. What advice can they give to other smaller countries that are not on the threshold of bankruptcy? How could countries that dont have the expertise to control their own actually try to pressure other countries to be like them. They try to sell capitalism and democracy to these countries that are self sufficient in their own way, and with capitalism and democracy they themselves fall. What is the "good point" that they are selling with the bombs and wars? What shining example have they shown that capitalism and democracy is better than anything else.. Take a look at China, socialist and centrally controlled and it is the best this year! Why would the world want democracy and capitalism. What about a China model? What about a China model.?

      August 6, 2011 at 2:32 am | Reply
  16. INAFGHANISTANcurrently

    I am currently in Afghanistan and I am an advisor to the Afghan Airforce. When i first got here I was so enthusiastic that we could do this... we could help them change. Over the months though I have come to a realization that they are never going to change. As soon as we pull out they are doomed. Its just unfortunate we had to waste all those lifes and money for nothing. I hope we think long and hard before we get involved with something like this again... We need to fix our problems at home now. Then we can help the rest of the world.

    August 6, 2011 at 12:38 am | Reply
  17. Rick McDaniel

    Face it. Afghanistan has no intention of changing, no matter how much aid you throw at it.

    August 5, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Reply
  18. TowelHeadsAreMorons

    There will never be stability as long as there is Islame. Period. Don't waste money on "aid".

    August 5, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Reply
  19. altee11

    We fail because we do not treat the Taliban like the criminals they are. They are thugs who hide behind religion, in order to convince people they deserve respect. The thing is they aren't religious at all; they are against the mind, against choice, against diversity, against education, against all non-Taliban. It is a group that would wipe out everyone not of Taliban background, if they ever gained the power to achieve that aim.
    They hide behind religion to make their opponents go softer on them; they have succeeded.

    August 5, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Reply
  20. RMc

    Americans fought and died for American Independence... Americans fighting for Afghani Independence makes no more sense than if they were to fight for ours. If the Afghanis want it bad enough, they have to be the ones to take it. Only then can the true collective will of all the Afghan people be realized. Since the end of American isolationism post WW2, USA has really been painted into a corner by their own good deeds. When trouble starts, everyone asks "Where is America? Why aren't they doing anything?.. and when they arrive to help, everyone hollers " Invaders, Crusaders, Occupiers, yada yada yada... go home!". Enough already! It really sucks to see people die for such causes but its a necessary evil. Nice to see the US stay out of Iran and Libya for the most part. I believe they will find their own independence and good on them for doin it. Its a good start. Freedom isnt free as they say, and its not easy also... but it is contagious.

    August 5, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Reply
    • RM

      Americans need to use their State Dept (diplomacy) more than Dept of Defense (bombs). In other words more brains than testosterone.

      August 5, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Reply
      • RMc

        That's why soldiers make better Presidents than civilians. War is usually a last resort to those who have actually fought it. To the rest, its only a game of risk. Attrition is no way to negotiate, thats for sure.

        August 5, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • RM

      BTW last I checked, no one sent an invitation to the Americans to invade Iraq or Afghanistan. It was the Saudis that messed with us and we ended up elsewhere. When the investigations/trials are over, truth will emerge and accountability for millions of lives lost.

      August 5, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Reply
      • RMc

        I agree 100%. The Military Industrial Complex although strong, aint always so smart... led astray by civilian leadership that coudln't separate oil and state. Thankfully all that Iraqi oil paid for the war.... wait a minute.... I digress. This is veering off into a whole other discussion.

        August 5, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • james

      Dont worry. Americans arent free either.

      August 5, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Reply


    August 5, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Reply
  22. RM

    OMG!! No wonder USA is in such a mess. BTW there is no such thing as an Afghanistan solution. It has to be a regional solution.

    August 5, 2011 at 10:44 am | Reply
  23. bostoncreme

    LOL. It really takes a think tank? Wasnt it a common sense, at least two empires Briths and Russians tried it before. You cant win war against natives, native Indians was a rare exception.

    August 5, 2011 at 10:26 am | Reply
    • james

      Yea, just because you call yourself a think tank doesnt mean you actually think. My cat could have told us the same info, and she will work for some catnip. Imagine how much money was spent on this report. HAHAHAH. I love humans.

      August 5, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Reply

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