Afghan Public Works Slide Into Ruin

Tuesday, 04 Jan 2011 10:39 AM

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Humanitarian projects such as roads and schools built at a cost of billions of U.S. dollars in Afghanistan can quickly slide into ruin when turned over to local officials. The Washington Post, citing a yet-to-be released government report and interviews, found that Afghans had problems maintaining half of 69 projects reviewed in Laghman province.

afghan, school, ruinIn the past six years, the Commander’s Emergency Response Program has spent $2 billion on 16,000 projects in Afghanistan. The draft report provided to the Post included photos of a dredged canal that was refilled with silt just six months after opening and washed out roads loaded with cracks and potholes.

"Sustainment is one of the biggest issues with our whole strategy," a civilian official told the newspaper. "The Afghans don't have the money or capacity to sustain much.” The Washington Post, citing President Barack Obama’s December promise to give Afghanistan the “tools to build and sustain a future of stability,” said the failed projects are yet another roadblock in the strategy to shift responsibility to Afghans.

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