The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

International aid
– for contractors’ pockets

Apr 14, 2008

International aid to Afghanistan has been more talk than action. Of 25 billion dollars pledged since 2002, only 15 billion may have reached Afghanistan. For the United States, only half the ten billion dollars pledged has arrived. The World Bank has only sent half of what it promised. Germany has sent only two dollars out of every three it pledged.

According to a recent report by an official of Oxfam, a British charity, only seven million a day is spent on what they call rebuilding the country– from all the destruction caused by the U.S. war. Of course, a lot of the money earmarked for reconstruction is simply pocketed by corrupt Afghan officials.

This same report found a much bigger part is pocketed as huge profits and consultants’ fees and goes back to the companies of the countries pledging the aid.

These foreign contractors make the Afghan officials look like amateurs. The worst example in the report was the U.S. Agency for International Development, which spent money to build a road from the capital Kabul’s airport to the center of the city. This road cost three million dollars per mile, that is, FOUR times what roadbuilding usually costs in Afghanistan. Guess the U.S. contractors made a bundle on that road.

In other words, international aid is aid to international contractors.