The Cost of Support to Afghanistan: New special report considers the causes of inequality, poverty and a failing democracy,

A new AAN special report looks at why the political vision of the 2002 Bonn Agreement and 2004 constitution with its promises of a representative democracy has failed to materialise. It finds answers in the huge levels of unearned foreign income that has flowed into Afghanistan since 2001, both aid and the money spent by foreign forces. This income has funded the government and been a major element of national income (GDP) for the last 18 years. Yet, as this report explores, it has sabotaged democracy and undermined the domestic economy. The report’s author, Kate Clark, here looks at why this topic is so important now, given the possibility that the income on which the Afghan state depends may dry up. […]

Afghanistan’s rent is made up of both spending by the various foreign armies deployed to Afghanistan and international aid. Looking at these two sources of income in the same light may seem strange given their very different aims. However, the rentier effect each has on Afghanistan’s political economy is the same. It might also seem that aid should have very different and far more positive consequences than rent from other sources. Not so, according to a World Bank paper; at least in terms of its impact on political institutions, it found, “aid is a bigger curse than oil.”14 What is significant is not whether there has been greater or less ‘aid effectiveness’. Rather, it is the magnitude of the aid, along with the spending by foreign armies, and how this distorts the state/citizen relationship and the economy, that has proved so deeply problematic for Afghanistan. Läs artikel