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Relief Agencies:  Donors Fail to Keep Promises to Afghanistan


Major international relief agencies say about $10 billion in promised aid to Afghanistan have yet to be delivered. A report by British-based Oxfam says by not honoring their pledge, western donors are undermining prospects for peace in Afghanistan. Tendai Maphosa has more for VOA in this report from London.

The Oxfam report is highly critical. It says that in 2001, donor countries pledged $25 billion for Afghanistan, but notes that only $15 billion have been delivered.

The report, entitled "Falling Short," was compiled by Oxfam for the Agency Coordinating Body For Afghan Relief, Acbar, which consists of 94 aid agencies, including Oxfam.

Report author Matt Waldman tells VOA security issues may have made donor countries reluctant to deliver.

"I think the lack of security is one factor but another major factor is the lack of adequate government capacity," he said. "There are also problems with corruption so I think those are two important factors to explain why aid has not been delivered."

But Waldman says donor countries need to do more to meet their pledges.

The Oxfam report also criticizes the way the money is being used. It points out that 40 percent of aid delivered goes back to donor countries in consultant fees and expatriate pay. It also says that more than half of all aid to Afghanistan is conditional on the procurement of services or resources from donor countries.

Waldman says projects are often launched without consulting the local people they are designed to help, and he says there is an overall lack of coordination and transparency.

"Sometimes it is very difficult to know exactly what the donors are doing, what projects they have, how much has been spent on them, what the profit margins are and how much has been devoted to supporting Afghan resources," he said. "So, there is a great need for there to be clear transparency so that donors can be measured on their performance. If we can establish what the problems are, then we can put them right."

The United States is the largest single donor to Afghanistan, having contributed a third of all aid since 2001. Other major donors are Japan, Britain, the European Union, the World Bank, Germany and Canada. France and Spain have made, what the report describes as scant bilateral contributions.

The report says while the U.S. military spends close to $100 million a day in Afghanistan, an average of only $7 million is being spent daily by all donors combined.

Waldman says security and development complement each other and so the delivery of development is as important as promotion of security.

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