Oxfam asks donors to sustain Afghan aid
KABUL (PAN): A global aid agency has urged international donors to continue their assistance level to Afghanistan to ensure the decade-old progress made in the war-hit nation continues even after foreign troops leave the country in 2014.
Oxfam warned that the development gains made in Afghanistan during the last decade could go to waste if foreign aid fell amidst international troops’ planned exit over the next two years.
"Any significant cuts in support could have dire consequences on Afghan people and we cannot let this happen. While the past 11 years have seen substantial progress, millions of Afghans still lack adequate healthcare, schools, jobs, or law and order.
“A good hard look at the way aid is spent in Afghanistan is long overdue. Donors need to work harder to address the needs of women and girls, involve local communities in development projects, increase anti-corruption efforts, and ensure projects are designed to be smart, fair and sustainable,” said Louise Hancock, Oxfam’s head of policy and advocacy in Afghanistan.
The warning comes as donor governments are planning to meet in Tokyo on July 8th to discuss on financing Afghanistan after NATO troops end their mission in the country.
The foreign forces withdrawal by the end of 2014 is likely to hit the already weak Afghan economy even harder with 97 percent of the country’s gross domestic product related to the international community’s presence.
The World Bank has estimated that aid to Afghanistan could drop by as much as 90 per cent by 2025, said Oxfam.
The agency’s warning about aid levels and spending comes at a critical time for Afghanistan, the country’s single biggest donor, the United States had dramatically cut development aid by nearly half in 2011, from $4.1 billion to $2.5 billion.
"Afghanistan stands at crossroads and at Tokyo critical decisions need to be made. Now is not the time to pull back. It is the time to learn from our mistakes and deliver aid projects that the Afghan people need -- ones that will have lasting benefits. If we do not, everything that has been achieved at such great cost could be lost," said Hancock.
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