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The Scam of “Reconstruction” in Afghanistan Essay

“The Scam of ‘Reconstruction’ in Afghanistan has been included into the “censored list”. American taxpayers are not aware of the ways their resources are used in financial aid programs abroad. USAID, the U.S. government, and numerous corporations lack transparency and accountability in the development of various financial aid programs for Afghanistan.

Introduction

“The Scam of ‘Reconstruction’ in Afghanistan” has already been included into the list of the top 25 stories. The news story reveals the hidden truth about the money which the American government uses to promote “reconstruction” policies in Afghanistan and which are literally taken from the pockets of the U.S. taxpayers. The story is censored, and is based in the information from Action Aid report, which states that USAID is directly involved into money laundering under the cover of providing financial aid to Afghanistan.

“The U.S. far outstrips other nations in these schemes, as Action Aid calculates that 86 cents of every dollar of American aid is phantom” (The Scam of ‘Reconstruction’ in Afghanistan, 2008). The issue is of critical importance to the present day society: the U.S. is involved into numerous international aid programs. Taxes are the major source of such programs. As taxpayers require more transparency in the way the state uses their financial resources, the Action Aid report reveals the ugly truth about the U.S. financial aid organizations, and undermines the trust of the American population to the U.S. government.

Review of literature

Surprisingly or not, but the majority of other literature sources support the Action Aid’s viewpoint and address the major inconsistencies of the Afghan “reconstruction” policies which USAID finances. GAO (2005) and Nawa (2006) have conducted independent researches and have presented their results in online report forms. One of the recent GAO reports states that “the United States spent $720 million on nonsecurity-related assistance to Afghanistan in fiscal year 2004” (GAO, 2005). Simultaneously, the U.S. has failed to provide full financial information related to nonsecurity-related assistance.

“USAID did not always require contractors to fulfill contract provisions such as work plans needed to ensure contractor accountability and facilitate USAID oversight” (GAO, 2005). GAO emphasizes the problems with deteriorating security and increased opium production. These problems reflect the U.S. inability to effectively use the financial resources of the American taxpayers. The non-transparent accountability system implies the desire of the American aid organizations to misuse the financial resources which should have been directed to satisfy the needs of Afghan citizens.

Nawa (2006) supports GAO’s negative attitudes towards the American role in Afghanistan’s “Reconstruction”: in her view, “Reconstruction” in Afghanistan is nothing more than “a fundamentally broken contracting system that rewards corporations for mediocre work and subjects them to little or no oversight or accountability” (Nawa, 2006). Isn’t it nonsense that Kabul which faces electricity and water supply problems is filled with Western type hotels, charging $250-$1200 a night (Nawa, 2006)? As the three quarters of funds are allocated among various private projects, these projects are frequently used to illegally use millions of “Afghan” money which will never reach its target population.

Synovitz (2007) & Jalal (2005) are on the other side of this debate. They have also conducted independent researches, without any assistance from the U.S. state organizations. Synovitz (2007) shows the benefits of the U.S. aid to Afghanistan through the example of Ring Road’s completion. Although Synovitz (2007) states that financing was in place, the construction has not yet started.

Ring Road is expected to become the backbone of the Afghanistan’s transportation system. The U.S. financial aid will turn the road into a link between several economically stable Asian states. Jalal (2005) pays special attention to the growing role of women in Afghanistan’s “Reconstruction”. This issue is extremely important in the Islamic state. Jalal (2005) implies that the U.S. aid has substantially improved the social status of women in the post-Taliban state.

Why is the story on a “censored list”?

Despite all pros and cons of the story, it has been censored and underreported in media. In general, the U.S. aid to Afghanistan lacks objective media coverage. If the story enters mainstream media, the U.S. government will have to act; it will need objective proofs that all financial resources were effectively and legally used. USAID and similar organizations will need to promote better transparency of their financial activity.

The U.S. government, USAID, contractors and corporations will certainly benefit, if the story is underreported. They will equally suffer in case the story enters mass media. Simultaneously, the continuous “censored” status of the story threatens the trust and stability of the American taxpayers, who naively think that people in Afghanistan have full access to the American financial resources.

Conclusion

There are several reasons for including the story into the “censored list”. First, the American government, USAID, contractors and corporations are reluctant to reveal the truth about financial aid to Afghanistan. Second, the story could potentially undermine the stability of the U.S. political system and the trust of the American taxpayers to the government. Third, USAID cannot refute the allegations which the news story reveals to its readers; this is why it prefers to conceal the story from the public. The most effective way to make people aware would be to publish the true story in mainstream media. Censorship is not the best friend of democracy. Taxpayers should know how the state uses their financial resources abroad.

References

Nawa, F. (2006). Deconstructing the Reconstruction. CorpWatch. Retrieved May 27, 2008

from http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=14076

Jalal, M. (2005). Women’s leadership in Afghanistan’s Reconstruction. Asia Source.

Retrieved May 27, 2008 from http://www.asiasource.org/asip/jalal.cfm

GAO. (2005). Afghanistan reconstruction: Despite some progress, deteriorating security and

other obstacles continue to threaten achievement of U.S. goals. GAO.gov. Retrieved May 27, 2008 from http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d05742.pdf

Synovitz, R. (2007). Afghanistan: Ring road’s completion would benefit entire region. Radio

Free Europe. Retrieved May 27, 2008 from http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2007/10/7f9d2791-dc84-4928-90ce-4a1e6e8a02c6.html

“The scam of ‘Reconstruction’ in Afghanistan.” (2008). Project Censored. Retrieved May

27, 2008 from http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/articles/11-the-scam-of-reconstruction-in-afghanistan/

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