Afghanistan Aid Squandered, Charity Says

Despite billions in donations, poverty remains rampant
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 20, 2007 12:00 PM CST
U.S. soldiers stand in front of their humvee armored vehicle, as the Dara-e- Noor's administrative department is seen in the background after it was hit with a rocket fired by by Taliban militants in...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The US approved another $6.4 billion in aid for Afghanistan this year, but a leading charity says too much development funding is being wasted on short-term quick fixes. An Oxfam assessment attests that "non-Afghan resources" and "high expatriate salaries and living costs" are soaking up aid, leaving Afghanis mired in poverty, Reuters reports.

"The development process has been too centralized, top-heavy and insufficient," the report says. Moreover, more than half of all American aid to Afghanistan goes to private contractors, not to the Afghan government, entrenching the situation and keeping local institutions weak. Kabul's cost of living is extremely high: Supporting a foreign consultant there can cost up to half a million dollars annually.