The US government strategy for improving its struggling reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan relies heavily on spending more money, a strategy that may be backfiring, The Christian Science Monitor reports.
In Afghanistan, some aid workers actually argue that the aid flow has become a desperate gambit – throwing too much money with too little thought at the problem. They say that perhaps less money is more.
Even consultants hired by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to evaluate its Afghan projects drop such hints. Tucked near the bottom of a new report on a four-year, $60 million aid project in the remote northern province of Badakhshan (detailed in the Monitor's investigative piece "How USAID loses hearts and minds") lies the argument in almost haiku precision: "It would have been better to do less, but endow what was done with more staying power."
That's not the message USAID is getting from above, however. With a 2011 deadline for a troop drawdown, US military strategy is putting a lot of pressure on the agency – the biggest reconstruction actor in the country – to show more quick impact to help pacify the insurgency in time.
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