No one wants greater access to the Afghan people and USAID projects more than the agency’s dedicated Foreign Service officers do. The fact that they get out so rarely drives down morale inside the embassy and makes it harder to recruit aid workers. I am convinced that they would accept more (and reasonable) risk with better training and equipment. But regular requests to Washington to reassess the security rules that govern our economic assistance have fallen mostly on deaf ears. Meanwhile, USAID officers ask how they can connect with a country they mostly cannot see.
An Afghan Aid Disconnect
Friday, December 26, 2008; Page A23
Ward was acting assistant administrator for Asia at the U.S. Agency for International Development from 2006 to 2008 and earlier served as a USAID mission director in Pakistan.