Thursday, May 10, 2007

Afghanistan- Revived Taliban restrict Afghan aid effort

CS Monitor has a provocative article attempting to equate the military successes of the Taliban with restriction on aid and development in Afghanistan.

Against the backdrop of NATO troops giving out candy, the author highlights the difficulties that donors are having in finding Afghan NGOs to implement projects in volatile regions. Presumably the search for Afghan partners is now the tactic of choice to make up for the absence of international partners, who are unable to work without armed security. But even this approach is apparently failing, as the Afghan NGOs are explaining the same problems that their international counter-parts have faced since 2001:

'...finding Afghan aid agencies who are willing to work on projects in outlying southern districts has become a thorny problem – especially in areas where international troops visit districts to inspect aid work, such as the canal-clearing project in Niki Kaz.

"When they [NATO soldiers] monitor the projects themselves, they come with tanks, with weapons, and this affects our staff badly," says Abdul Salaam Siddiqi, the deputy director of the Voluntary Association for the Rehabilitation of Afghanistan (VARA).

Mr. Siddiqi says his agency has rolled back its activities steadily over the past two years and now operates only in provincial capitals in the south.

Delivering aid in outlying districts has become impossible, and eight staff members have been killed since 2002.

"We face many problems. The Taliban have arrested our engineers there and captured our vehicles," he explains.'