Feb 27, 2006
Four years after the fall of the Taliban, the representatives of the great powers met in London at the start of February to pledge five years more aid to the Afghanistan budget.
Ruined by 25 years of civil war and the U.S. invasion, Afghanistan depends on internal institutions and other countries for 90% of its budget.
According to Condoleeza Rice, “Afghanistan is a wonderful success story.” Reality is quite different. The Afghan State is completely maintained by foreign money and NATO troops, which are supposed to stay five or ten more years.
The “Afghan State” exists only in Kabul, the capital, where there are luxury hotels and 4,000 foreign residents pay rents as high as in Paris, Tokyo or London. Rich areas surrounding foreign embassies are marked by speculation: villas that sold for tens of thousands of dollars under the Taliban now sell for a thousand times as much! But many of the residents of workers’ neighborhoods have to survive without work, water or electricity.
Much of the ten billion dollars in foreign aid received over the past four years went directly into the quicksand of corruption. An army of consultants descended on the country. Paid $1,000 a day, they also took their cut from reconstruction work and phony non-profit organizations.
The rest of the country remains under the control of warlords. Several years ago, Afghan merchants paid taxes on goods imported into the country. Now they have to pay taxes in each region the goods pass through, which raises prices so much that an underground economy has grown up.
Production of opium poppies for heroin, having exploded since the fall of the Taliban, is today the major crop. Today Afghanistan produces 87% of the world’s supply.
Security doesn’t exist in the south and east of the country. At best, the government, the police, the army and NATO troops maintain a certain status quo, but they have failed to end the warlords and trafficking.
What the London conference showed is that the only solution that the U.S. and its European satellites can find is to pour in more troops and money, if they want to maintain the “Afghan State” in their sphere of influence. But these troops and money don’t help the population emerge from misery.
“Success?” This is the success of the graveyard!