Two years after 9/11, CARE Says Afghanistan Is Getting Short-Changed

CARE
Wednesday, 10 September 2003

More money for economic and political rebuilding needed

Two years after 9/11, Afghanistan is being short-changed by insufficient funds, the humanitarian organization CARE said, after reviewing the breakdown on U.S. funding for reconstruction. President Bush's funding request, announced Sunday night, grants the lion's share to Iraq and precious little for rebuilding Afghanistan, CARE said.

Of the new $87 billion dollar request only $799 million dollars goes to Afghanistan for reconstruction, the training of Afghan security forces, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of combatants, and supporting the democratic process. The administration is combining the new funds with $400 million dollars re-allocated from existing accounts for a total of $1.2 billion for economic and political rebuilding.

"Even in the modest amount of money requested for Afghanistan, too large a percentage goes to Coalition military operations (90%), and too little to build Afghanistan's capacity for long-term stability," says Kevin Henry, advocacy director for CARE USA. Funding for Afghanistan continues to be tipped toward U.S. military operations ($11 billion) versus the reconstruction and re-establishment of rule of law, ($1.2 billion) required for Afghanistan to progress.

While additional resources are welcome, the aid being pledged is only a fraction of what is required to rebuild Afghanistan. For this year, Afghanistan needs roughly $4 billion from the international community. This year alone, U.S. support for Iraq reconstruction is already equal to or more than the total required for Afghan reconstruction over a five-year period ($15-20 billion). Similar attention and resources must be given to fully meet U.S. obligations in Afghanistan. CARE has long-standing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The two countries are approximately the same size, however, Iraq has more infrastructure, more natural resources and a significantly larger cadre of civil servants and professionals. Both countries are battling rising insecurity.

"Insecurity is the overriding issue impeding reconstruction in both Iraq and Afghanistan," says Henry. "The U.S. government is rightly saying that it is ultimately the responsibility of both nations to provide for their own security, yet $5 billion is being put into an accelerated training program for Iraq security forces, while approximately $330 million of new resources will go to this purpose in Afghanistan. Speedy training for Afghan police and members of the army must be given the same high priority," adds Henry.

"There is a need for continued U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, given the recent resurgence of the Taliban, but there is still not enough money being invested in areas that are critical for the country's future as a stable member of the international community," concludes Henry.

CARE has worked in Afghanistan since the 1960s and in Iraq since 1991 to help local communities overcome their most threatening problems. Last year CARE worked to improve the lives of 31 million people through programs ineconomic development, health care,education,water and sanitation, agriculture and natural resources.

For more information, or to contact CARE, see their website at: www.care.org

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