— Domani Spero
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WaPo’s Tim Craig reported today that Afghanistan has nearly run out of money:
Afghanistan’s central government is nearly broke and needs a $537 million bailout from the United States and other international donors within “five or six days” to continue paying its bills, a senior Afghan finance official said Tuesday.
Officials blame the financial woes on the ongoing stalemate over who won the election to replace outgoing President Hamid Karzai.
“We hope they will pay for us, and we are asking at once,” Aqa said of ongoing discussions with the U.S. government and other international donors. “They are asking me when I need it, and I told them this week or we will have a problem.”
Afghanistan has an annual operating budget of about $7.6 billion, about 65 percent of which comes from international assistance. The current fiscal crunch is a result of a 25 percent shortfall in Afghanistan’s domestic revenue collection from taxes and customs tariffs this year, Aqa said.
According to the World Bank, Afghanistan will need more than $7 billion annually for the next decade to sustain a functional government, maintain infrastructure and fund the Afghan army and police.
Since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, the U.S. government has appropriated $104 billion rebuilding and supporting the Afghan government, military and public services, according to the Office of the Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction.
Read the full story here.
SIGAR John F. Sopko is quoted in the report saying, “The bottom line: It appears we’ve created a government that the Afghans simply cannot afford.”
Zing! We hope they won’t let him go from that job because he said something real and true.
Now, our question is why is the finance minister doing the asking? Why is the Afghan leader, who called Americans “occupiers” is not the one doing the asking for pocket change here?
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- Watchdog: US may be paying salaries of ‘ghost’ Afghan policemen (stripes.com)
- Inspect General’s Report Highlights Extortion, Corruption in Afghanistan (usnews.com)
- LATimes- Watchdog faults U.S. military’s oversight of aid to Afghanistan (latimes.com)
- Inspector General Reveals Staggering Waste in Afghan War (news.antiwar.com)
- US auditor finds taxpayer money flowing to Taliban, Al Qaeda – but Army refuses to act (csmonitor.com)
- Afghanistan has cost more to rebuild than Europe after Second World War (telegraph.co.uk)
- ‘Breakthrough’ in Afghan election dispute (businessinsider.com)
- US aid to Afghanistan exceeds Marshall Plan in costs, not results (sacbee.com)