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[casi] Beware Westerners bearing promises - cautionary words from Afghanistan

Beware Westerners bearing promises - some cautionary words from
Afghanistan - The Independent, 24 Feb (see URL for full article)

Living in poverty and fear of abandonment, the barely functioning state
that trusted its saviours
By Phil Reeves in Kabul
24 February 2003

"People remember Tony Blair's pronouncement that the world "will not
walk away from Afghanistan, as it has done so many times before". But
Afghans have also listened with astonishment as Americans portray their
country's experience since the overthrow of the Taliban as a "success".

"Now the United States is priming its laser-guided bombs anew, and the
attention of the world's media has swivelled to the deserts and
oilfields of Iraq. Few in Kabul seem convinced by the repeated
assurances - from the US government and its military, from the UN and
Britain - that they will not be forgotten or allowed to lapse back into
the bloodshed that prevailed after the occupying Soviet forces were
driven out by the CIA-funded and CIA-armed mujahedin in 1989."...

"The lack of money has dogged Afghanistan from the start. A year ago,
the World Bank estimated $10.2bn (£6.4bn) was needed over five years.
International pledges were about half that sum. And, according to Care
International, an NGO monitoring international aid, the money actually
spent per capita last year in Afghanistan was under half that of post-
conflict Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo and East Timor. The CIA has spent some
of that paying warlords and militias for help in the "war on terror" -
strengthening rivals to the central government.

"So what does this tell us about the fate of Iraq after the Americans
have taken it apart?

"It is not hard to find international aid workers who see that the
problems of Afghanistan will be repeated in Iraq. "There is a real
question over whether the international community is prepared to take on
the burden of rebuilding Iraq over the long term," said Paul O'Brien,
advocacy co-ordinator for Care in Afghanistan.

"Another Western observer summed up his views more acidly. "If the
Americans think this is success, then outright failure must be pretty
horrible to behold."
Cathy Aitchison

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