Friday, September 04, 2009

From Our "Told You So" Department: USAID Funded Taliban in Afghanistan

From Jean MacKenzie's story on (ht The Newshour With Jim Lehrer):
KABUL — The United States Agency for International Development has opened an investigation into allegations that its funds for road and bridge construction in Afghanistan are ending up in the hands of the Taliban, through a protection racket for contractors.

And House Foreign Affairs Committee member, Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-Mass.) vowed to hold hearings on the issue in the fall, saying: "The idea that American taxpayer dollars are ending up with the Taliban is a case for grave concern."

U.S. officials confirmed that the preliminary investigation and the proposed hearings were sparked by a GlobalPost special report on the funding of the Taliban last month that uncovered a process that has been an open secret in Afghanistan for years among those in international aid organizations.

The report exposed that the Taliban takes a percentage of the billions of dollars in aid from U.S. and other international coalition members that goes to large organizations and their subcontractors for development projects, in exchange for protection in remote areas controlled by the insurgency.
I wrote about a different aspect of this problem in a February 2007 ORBIS article, NGOs: A ‘New Class’ in International Relations:
Nongovernmental organizations have attempted to take control of civil society, displacing traditional governing institutions. This serves the interests of the terrorists, warlords, and mafia dons, who benefit from weak central government, and hinders the West's ability to mobilize allies to participate in the war on terror. NGO leaders who are hostile to the nation-state itself seek to transform a voluntary system of participation in international organizations by sovereign member-states via a “power shift” to an unholy alliance of multinational corporations and NGOs. Since they do not possess the traditional sources of legitimacy enjoyed by nation-states, they seek to impose their will by financial or forceful means—for example, “sanctions” or “humanitarian intervention.” A new class of NGOs has thus emerged that is essentially opposed to the diplomatic, legal, and military measures required for dealing with civilizational conflict.