Afghanistan Unveils Ambitious Development Plan

This NPR report 1 by Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson describes the difficulty the Afghan government faces in getting international funding for its $50 billion strategy to rebuild the nation. Western officials are wary of simply handing over funds to the Afghan government due to allegations of corruption and mismanagement. An illustration:

Yet how some Afghan contractors hired by the ministry spend international aid money raises serious questions. For example, one contractor in Kandahar province recently agreed to pay $100,000 to a local Taliban commander to ensure his men would leave the project alone.

The builder claims he and other contractors have no choice but to cut such deals to protect their projects in high-risk areas such as Kandahar.

He allowed NPR to listen to, but not tape, his negotiations by speakerphone with the Taliban leader. He also sent the Taliban commander a copy of the contract to prove he wasn’t making more on the project than claimed.


1 Nelson, Soraya Sarhaddi. “Afghanistan Unveils Ambitious Development Plan”. NPR. May 21, 2008.

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