Afghanistan faces economic downturn: Senate report

Afghanistan is at risk of a deep financial crisis when foreign troops leave in 2014.

Washington: Afghanistan is at risk of a
deep financial crisis when foreign troops leave in 2014 if the
United States is unable to overhaul its multibillion-dollar
package of nation-building assistance, according to a
congressional report that comes as President Barack Obama
weighs the size and scope of the initial phase of a US troop

The report, completed over two years by Democrats on
the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the US
stabilisation programs in Afghanistan have had limited success
despite about USD 18.8 billion in US foreign aid over 10 years
more than for any other country, including Iraq.

Misspent foreign aid can result in corruption, alter
markets and undercut the ability of the Kabul government to
control its resources, said the report, which was posted last
night on the Senate committee`s website. The World Bank found
that a whopping 97 per cent of the gross domestic product in
Afghanistan is linked to spending by the international
military and donor community.

"Afghanistan could suffer a severe economic depression
when foreign troops leave in 2014 unless the proper planning
begins now," the report said.

The State Department and the US Agency for
International Development are spending about USD 320 million a
month on foreign aid in Afghanistan, relying on the money to
"win hearts and minds." Among the successes has been a
sevenfold increase in the number of children attending school
and gains in health care.


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