Thursday, September 21, 2006

Where's the police?- IHT

Another excellent article written by a civilian expert, lamenting the lack of security as the Achille's heel of what appeared to be an otherwise successful project. This echoes the mantra of 'no security without development, no development without security':

'In the long-term plan, alternative livelihoods meant helping Afghan farmers export high-value crops like saffron and cumin. It meant restoring the orchards and vineyards that had once made Afghanistan a power in the raisin and almond markets. It meant providing credit to farmers who had relied on traffickers for affordable loans.

In the short run, however, with the first eradication tractors already plowing up poppy fields, we had no time for those approaches. Instead, we created public-works jobs. We handed out shovels to thousands of local Afghans and paid them $4 per day to repair canals and roads. By May 2005, we had paid out millions of dollars and had some 14,000 men on the payroll simultaneously.

Security was our Achilles' heel. There was a new American military base by the graveyard on the edge of town, but the few score Iowa National Guard members there lacked the manpower and the local knowledge to protect us. We could not afford the professional security companies in Kabul.'