Wednesday, May 15, 2013

To the US, things are looking up in Afghanistan; for the Afghanis things couldn't be worse!

This photo appears in media with the caption: “An Afghan coal seller takes a rest on his coal sacks in Kabul. Afghanistan's economy has improved significantly after suffering from decades of fighting.” Things really do look swell for this guy, don’t they!? Breathing in all that coal dust & lounging in the lap of luxury.

Far from ‘significant improvement’ in Afghanistan there is 48% unemployment & still rising (per the Afghanistan Economy Minister), 30% of primary school age children are working, often as the sole source of income for their families (per the UN), 70% of Afghans are food insecure with 50% of children under 5 years-old suffering chronic malnutrition, there are tens of thousands of homeless children, & the government is unable to provide basic services of power, water, sanitation, & waste removal to its citizens.

The US boasts that by the end of this year it will have spent $100 billion in Afghanistan on reconstruction but lest you think that’s to replace the schools & hospitals its bombed, it’s reportedly mostly to train & equip Afghan military forces. It’s not humanitarian aid. US reconstruction aid in every country is riddled with massive waste, fraud, & theft because its designed that way. Media reports reconstruction aid is a fraction of what has been spent on the war but in fact it is part of the war budget. It’s not a “hearts & minds” thing to win over the Afghan people but a central component of military & counterinsurgency strategy. That would help explain the high number of “humanitarian aid” workers that have been killed in Afghanistan. It isn’t that the Afghanis are ungrateful but that they’re wise enough to look a US gift horse in the mouth.

Turns out the phrase “Afghanistan's economy has improved significantly after suffering from decades of fighting” comes straight out of the CIA World Factbook & is repeated in several news reports about Afghanistan. So who the hell is doing good in Afghanistan!? With the CIA carting in suitcases of money to the corrupt President Karzai we know his personal economy has improved. And we know from USAID that much of the reconstruction aid is outright bribe money pumped into different ministries of the Afghan government considered one of the most corrupt on the face of the planet. USAID vouches for the agencies & says it carefully scrutinizes the recipients. Of course, the word of USAID isn’t worth horse manure because of its long association with the CIA.

(Photo by S Sabawoon/EPA)

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