Greater civilian role in aid for Afghanistan

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AUSTRALIA'S aid program in Oruzgan province in Afghanistan is dominated by the Australian Defence Force and needs to be more transparent, non-government aid organisations say.

The Australian Council for International Development, the peak body, says the militarisation of aid in Afghanistan also runs the risk of causing resentment in peaceful provinces as aid is used to try to pacify hostile areas.

The federal government's aid agency, AusAID, has five civilians working in the province alongside hundreds of Australian soldiers, and the government has said it will increase the civilian effort in coming months.

A report by the council is generally positive about the Australian aid effort, delivered by the joint military-civilian provincial reconstruction team in Oruzgan.

It lauds the fact that only 10 per cent of Australia's total aid to Afghanistan is spent in the province. The greater portion of aid goes into a multinational trust fund set up for the Afghan national government.

''This suggests … the Australian aid portfolio is not significantly weighted towards Australia's military presence,'' the report says. ''This is encouraging and suggests that AusAID has a more balanced approach than … other donors to supporting comprehensive aid programming.''

However, the report criticises the fact that Defence is not required to disclose exactly how it spent its share of the $123 million in Australian government aid this financial year.

It was revealed recently that the Australian Defence Force has spent $252 million on aid in Afghanistan over the past four years - but only $37 million of that was for the likes of schools, hospitals, clinics and wells.

The report also takes aim at the theory that military-led aid is crucial to winning the hearts and minds of Afghans.

''We are gravely concerned about the overall lack of public information about Defence-led aid in Uruzgan,'' the council's executive director, Marc Purcell, said yesterday. ''If … ADF aid projects are being used as part of the larger allied counter-insurgency strategy, then this should be clearly stated. The Official Development Assistance funds of the Australian government should not be used for this purpose; this money should come from Defence appropriations.
http://www.smh.com.au/national/grea...fghanistan-20110401-1crk1.html?skin=text-only
 

pardus

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Sounds like Mr Purcell needs to STFU.

The Military must be seen hand in hand with the aid being given. Doesn't take a genius to understand that.
Why does everyone feel the need to to know now and why do we indulge this?
 

Marauder06

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Can't really have good success in an area like Afghanistan without security, can't have that without the Army. I don't get the "transparency" thing, does he suspect some malfeasance? Then lay out the evidence. Is he saying that the military might need to coordinate better with NGOs, etc. on the civilian side? Ok... I can probably see an argument there.

This thread reminds me of a discussion I got into with a college professor (who I actually really like) recently. We were talking about aid to foreign countries, specifically Pakistan. I opined that every thing we give them ought to be stamped with a big ass US flag. her- "But what if they resent the US being the source of the aid?" me- "Then why are we helping them?"
 

pardus

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Wow, did she even understand what she was saying?

If they resent the aid they can return it. Everyone's happy, right?
 

Marauder06

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I think if I would have had a little bit longer to talk to her it would have made more sense to me and I could explain it a little better. Sometimes the ends are in our interests, but showing our hand wouldn't necessarily be. I guess the only example of that was when we were supplying the Muj against the Russians and routing everything through Pakistan.
 

pardus

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I guess the only example of that was when we were supplying the Muj against the Russians and routing everything through Pakistan.

They knew where that aid was coming from, there were plenty of westerners inside A'stan who were supply and training the Muj but I see your point.
 

AWP

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I think if I would have had a little bit longer to talk to her it would have made more sense to me and I could explain it a little better. Sometimes the ends are in our interests, but showing our hand wouldn't necessarily be. I guess the only example of that was when we were supplying the Muj against the Russians and routing everything through Pakistan.

Which turned out to be our undoing. At the time allowing PK so much control over the weapons, aid, and money seemed like the best course of action, but it was a rape that bred the GWOT.

As to the OP, I wholeheartedly agree that more civilian aid workers and NGOs need to be involved, HOWEVER they need to go out WITH the military instead of the usual MO of running the roads by themselves.

1) NGOs make great victims.
2) It "softens" the presence of armed men in your village.
3) NGOs make great victims.
4) A coordinated military-civilian strategy is needed for COIN, so two dissimilar parties working towards two dissimilar goals is a recipe for FAIL.
5) NGOs make grat victims.
 
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