Report: U.S. Civilian Program in Afghanistan Failing

Monday, 12 Oct 2009 11:05 PM

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The United States is falling far short of its goals to fight Afghanistan's endemic corruption, create a functioning government and legal system and train a police force riddled with incompetence, The New York Times reported late Sunday.

Citing unnamed senior administration and military officials, the newspaper said that nearly seven months after President Barack Obama announced a civilian effort to bolster his deployment of 17,000 additional US troops to Afghanistan, many civil institutions are deteriorating as much as the country's security.

Administration officials said Afghanistan is now so dangerous that many aid workers cannot travel outside the capital to advise farmers on crops, the report said.

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Agricultural assistance was a key part of Obama's announcement in March that he was deploying hundreds of additional civilians to work in the country, the paper noted.

The judiciary is so weak that Afghans increasingly turn to a shadow Taliban court system because, a senior military official said, "a lot of the rural people see the Taliban justice as at least something," said The Times.

Administration officials describe Obama as impatient with the civilian progress so far, the report noted.

"The president is not satisfied on any of this," The Times quotes a senior administration official as saying.

Administration officials also said that the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai had frozen steps toward reform, the paper noted.

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Copyright AFP 2008, AFP stories and photos shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium

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