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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 March 2008, 14:23 GMT
Donors accused of failing Afghans
By Alastair Leithead
BBC News, Kabul

An Afghan child and a grandmother. File photo
Many Afghans are disappointed by a lack of tangible progress
Some $10bn (5bn) in aid promised to Afghanistan since the fall of the Taleban has still to be delivered, a group of 94 aid agencies has said.

The Agency Coordinating Body For Afghan Relief (Acbar) says that two-thirds of aid bypasses the Afghan government.

Forty per cent of aid goes back to donor countries in consultant fees and expatriate pay, the group says.

As a result, it warns that the prospects for peace in Afghanistan are being undermined.

The research for the Acbar report was by one of its member groups, Oxfam.

"Western countries are failing to deliver" is the clear message of the report.

It shows a disparity between what has been promised and what has been delivered.

And the way in which the money is used is also criticised.

'Poor security'

Different countries have different ways of spending.


Some countries channel donations through the government to help their civil service manage and decide on the funding of development programmes but two-thirds of the international aid misses out the government altogether.

America is the biggest donor by far.

But a USAid official confirmed that since 2001 it had only spent two-thirds of the money it pledged - a shortfall of $8.5bn - blaming poor security for an inability to get projects under way.

And the official said only 6% of the overall budget was spent through the Afghan government "to ensure US taxpayers' money could be accounted for" - implying a lack of trust in the government system.


Acbar's director said too much was being spent on short-term projects as a lever to win people over as part of the military counter-insurgency strategy, at the expense of longer-term development.

I believe that Afghanistan should stand on its own feet and no longer rely on foreign aid
Erfan, Herat

The report points out that while the US military spends $100m a day, the average amount of aid spent by all donors combined has been just $7m a day since 2001.

The findings echo the feelings of Afghan people who had high expectations when the Taleban were removed from power.

They are now disappointed by a lack of tangible progress despite the billions of dollars they are told have been heading into the country.


Donor Aid committed 2002-2008 Aid distributed 2002-2008
US $10,400m $5,022m
EC $1,721m $1,074m
World Bank $1,604m $853m
UK $1,455m $1,266m
Germany $1,226m $768m
Canada $779m $731m
Japan $1,410m $1,393m
Italy $424m $424m
Netherlands $493m $407m
Norway $399m $277m
France $109m $80m
Spain $63m $26m

Afghan projects funded by foreign aid

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