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Why is America Failing in Afghanistan?

- DR. Abdul-Qayum Mohmand

Analysis of “CIA World Factbook” (1981-2012): Dimensions of anti-Pashtun Conspirac

Afghan Fury at Planned Pakistan Pact
What Happens When the U.S. Leaves Afghanistan?
Trying to leave Afghanistan proves to be as troublesome as being there: A Closer Look
Afghanistan: “It’s Just Damage Limitation Now”
Zero Dark Thirty Review-Analysis; Eleven Instances of Disinformation
Why is America Failing in Afghanistan?
 
 
 
US forces in Afghanistan nearly destroyed vital airfield
We Are Those Two Afghan Children, Killed by NATO While Tending Their Cattle
Former Islamist Warlord Vies for Afghan Presidency
Pakistan releases top Afghan Taliban prisoner in effort to boost peace process
Losing the War in Afghanistan
Obama’s troop increase for Afghan war was misdirected
Afghan security vacuum feared along "gateway to Kabul"
Objections to U.S. Troops Intensify in Afghanistan
The Great Afghan corruption scam
War zone killing: Vets feel 'alone' in their guilt
Was Osama for Real? And Was He Killed in 2001?
Afghanistan withdrawal: The risks of retreat
The Real Reason the US Invaded Afghanistan
The Definition of a Quagmire
Huge Uncertainty' in Afghanistan
Controversial ID Cards Expose Ethnic Divisions In Afghanistan
Afghanistan: The Final Curtain Call for NATO?
Afghanistan After 9/11: A Mission Unaccomplished
Why Should Taliban and Other Insurgents Refrain from Negotiation With the US & NATO? By: Dr Mohammed Daud Miraki, MA, MA, Ph

Exclusive: Karzai family looks to extend boss rule in Afghanistan.

Intrigue in Karzai Family as an Afghan Era Closes
For Afghans, Two Outrages, Two Different Reactions
Double blow to west’s Afghan strategy
Does the Taliban need a diplomatic voice?
Afghanistan: Lessons in War and Peace-building for US
Afghan women opposed by former allies
Q+A - Haqqani: From White House guest to staunch U.S. enemy
Haqqanis: Growth of a militant network -BBC
Afghanistan shelves plans for ambassador accused of fraud
Afghan nominated as ambassador to Britain was accused in US of fraud
U.S. deal with Taliban breaks down
The Loneliness of the Afghan President: Karzai on His Own

NATO's Third Alternative in Afghanistan

On the Road: Interview with Commander Abdul Haq:- The Tragedy of Abdul Haq
When the Lion Roared: How Abdul Haq Almost Saved Afghanistan
AFGHAN WARRIOR: THE LIFE & DEATH OF ABDUL HAQ
Pakistan’s ISI: Undermining Afghan self-determination since 1948
Mineral Wealth of Afghanistan, Military Occupation, Corruption and the Rights of the Afghan People
M. Siddieq Noorzoy
Why Isn’t the UN Investigating and Prosecuting the U.S. and NATO for War Crimes Committed in Afghanistan?
Corruption and Warlordism:
Abdul Basir Stanikzai
In Afghanistan, U.S. contracts aren’t crystal balls, but they come close
The great Afghan carve-up
Anatomy of an Afghan war tragedy
Terry Jones Actually Burns a Qur’an and No One Notices
Q+A-Are Afghan forces ready to take over security?
Guantánamo Bay files rewrite the story of Osama bin Laden's Tora Bora escape
Winning Afghan hearts, minds with explosives
Afghanistan’s Mercenaries
KABUL’S HORIZONS
Who is winning Afghanistan war? U.S. officials increasingly disagree
Afghanistan: The Trouble With The Transition
From the Archives: In Quest of a ‘Greater Tajikistan’
The 1980s mujahideen, the Taliban and the shifting idea of jihad
Afghanistan's Karzai complains about interference
Karzai, US ambassador at odds over private security

Karzai Tells Washington Post U.S. Should Reduce Afghan Operation Intensity

Excerpts from Afghan President Hamid Karzai's interview with The Washington Post
What the Afghans Want
New US approach to Afghanistan insurgency: Vindication for Pakistan?
Putting Some Fight Into Our Friends
Afghans 'abused at secret prison
Why We Won’t Leave Afghanistan or Iraq
Indo-Pakistan proxy war heats up in Afghanistan
Canada’s elite commandos and the invasion of Afghanistan
U.S. retreat from Afghan valley marks recognition of blunder
Five myths about the war in Afghanistan
Marine who resigned over ‘conscience’ speaks at MU
The Afghan media may have grown since Taliban rule ended, but not so press freedoms
Mystery holes and angry ants: another Afghan day
Kabul Bank's Sherkhan Farnood feeds crony capitalism in Afghanistan
Marjah War
Operation Moshtarak: Which way the war in Afghanistan?
Q&A: Why Marjah, why now?
In Jalalabad, hope is fading
Seeking reconciliation, US units meet remote Afghanistan tribes
Once Again, Get the Hell Out! "Ending the War in Afghanistan"
Blackwater Kept a Prostitute on the Payroll in Afghanistan; Fraudulently Billed American Tax Payers
Wild West Motif Lightens US Mood at Afghan Bas
In southern Afghanistan, even the small gains get noticed
 Afghanistan war: US tries to undercut Taliban at tribal level
 Soviet lessons from Afghanistan
Are actions of 'super-tribe' an Afghan tipping point
Taliban: Terrorist or not? Not always easy to say
Q&A: Who else could help in Afghanistan?
Vietnam Replay on Afghan 'Defectors'
Washington's Refusal to Talk about Drone Strikes in Pakistan Meets Growing Opposition
Afghanistan summit: Why is the US backing talks with the Taliban?
Taliban's leadership council runs Afghan war from Pakistan
Why buy the Taliban?
2 Afghanistan conferences: No solutions
An Alternative to Endless War - Negotiating an Afghan Agreement?
Do the Taliban represent the Pashtuns?
Afghanistan asks ex-presidential contender to tackle corruption

Tehran Sets Conditions For Attending London Conference On Afghanista

Pakistan says reaches out to Afghan Taliban
Taking It to the Taliban
The Afghan Taliban's top leaders
How significant is Mullah Baradar's arrest?
Secret Joint Raid Captures Taliban’s Top Commander
What's the Quetta Shura Taliban and why does it matter?
What's behind latest Taliban attack on Kabul? See Images of the Attack By WSJ

Pakistan Version of Islam and Taliban ?????
Lahore fashion week takes on Talibanization in Pakistan

Loyalties of Those Killed in Afghan Raid Remain Unclear

After Attack, Afghans Question Motives or See Conspiracies
Gates: Taliban part of Afghan ‘political fabric’

IG: Afghan power-plant project ill-conceived, mismanaged

Taliban intensifies Afghan PR campaign

Taliban Overhaul Their Image in Bid to Win Allies
Karzai plans to woo Taliban with 'land, work and pensions'
Peace scheme mooted for Taliban
Bombs and baksheesh
But By All Means, Continue the Happy Talk on the Afghanistan War
Karzai Closing in on Taliban Reconciliation Plan
Last Exit Kabul
How To Get Out Without Forsaking Afghanistan's Stability
Afghan Recovery Report: Taleban Buying Guns From Former Warlords

'Jesus Guns': Two More Countries Rethink Using Weapons with Secret Bible References

Gun bible quotes 'inappropriate'
Text of Joint declaration of Afghanistan-Iran-Pakistan trilateral meeting
Garmsir Protest Shows Taleban Reach
Rugged North Waziristan harbors US enemies
The Arrogance of Empire, Detailed ( The Untold Story of Afghanistan )
Appointment of Afghan counter narcotics chief dismays British officials
In Afghanistan attack, CIA fell victim to series of miscalculations about informant
Rebuilding Afghanistan: Will government take hold in this post-Taliban town?
Rare bird discovered in Afghan mountains
Blackwater, now called Xe, in running for work in Afghanistan despite legal woes
How Soviet troops stormed Kabul palace
Afghan children 'die in fighting'
Afghanistan war: Russian vets look back on their experience
U.N. Officials Say American Offered Plan to Replace Karzai 
Learning From the Soviets
U.S. faults Afghan corruption body's independence
Intensify fight against corruption, says Afghan meeting
Afghan ministers cleared of charges
Drone aircraft in a stepped-up war in Afghanistan and Pakistan
U.S. Air Force Confirms 'Beast of Kandahar' Secret Stealth Drone Plane
Kissinger's fantasy is Obama's realit
Taliban shadow officials offer concrete alternative
Talking with the Taliban
20. Ashraf Ghani and Clare Lockhart
'Yes, there was torture and people were certainly beaten': Afghan warden
Why we should leave Afghanistan
US pours millions into anti-Taliban militias in Afghanistan
Pakistan to US: Don't surge in Afghanistan, talk to Taliban
A Plan C for Afghanistan
Finding decent cabinet is Karzai's big challenge
A way to get around Karzai in Afghanistan
Corruption fight boosted by 'Afghan FBI'
US demands Afghan 'bribery court'
Afghanistan plans court for corrupt ministers
The man leading Afghanistan's anti-corruption fight
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Gates blocks abuse photos release
New U.S. Afghan prison unveiled, rights groups wary
War in Afghanistan: Not in our name
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Afghan gov't says UN representative out of line
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Afghanistan and the lessons of history
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Patrick Witty & Tyler Hicks
The New York Times


Afghanistan Cross Road CNN


The last frontier


Bruce Richardson
 

Articles

CIA: Buying peace in Afghanistan?

With Bags of Cash, C.I.A. Seeks Influence in Afghanistan
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What the CIA’s cash has bought for Afghanistan

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The Afghan trust deficitt
Will We Learn Anything from Afghanistan? Part 1
Getting Out of Afghanistan: Part 2
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General’s Defense on Afghan Scandal Ducks Key Evidence
Afghans want Taliban peace talks
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Bombs for Pashtoons and Dollars for Punjab
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Gates: Mistake to set time line for Afghan withdrawal
Afghans question what democracy has done for them
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Two Perspectives On Resolving The Afghan Postelection Crisis
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The Afghan '80s are back
How to Lose in Afghanistan
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Lessons from Vietnam on Afghanistan
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Afghan presidential candidate withdraws in Karzai's favor
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Karzai opponents hope to beat him in second round
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For Karzai, Stumbles On Road To Election
Pentagon Seeks to Overhaul Prisons in Afghanistan
Cruel human toll of fight to win Afghan peace
Karzai’s gimmick
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We've lost sight of our goal in Afghanistan
$2,000 for a dead Afghan Child, $100,000 for Any American Who Died Killing it
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Operation in Taliban hotbed a test for revamped U.S. strategy
Covering Crucial Afghanistan Operation
Pentagon Seeks to Overhaul Prisons in Afghanistan
Echoes of Vietnam
A Response To General Dostum
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U.S. Inaction Seen After Taliban P.O.W.’s Died
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The Irresistible Illusion
Earn our trust or go, Afghans tell GIs
Running Out Of Options, Afghans Pay For an Exit

We've lost sight of our goal in Afghanistan

The strategy is sound – but success is not assured
Stakes High in Afghanistan Ahead of August Elections
$2,000 for a dead Afghan Child, $100,000 for Any American Who Died Killing it
Ex-detainees allege Bagram abuse
Petraeus Is a Failure -- Why Do We Pretend He's Been a Success?
Fierce Battles and High Casualties on the Frontlines of Afghanistan
End the Illegal, Immoral and Wasted War in Afghanistan, says BNP Defence Spokesman
Outside View: Four revolutions
Pakistan's Plans for New Fight Stir Concern
France: liberty, equality, and fraternity – but no burqas
 

 

 

 

 

Echoes of Vietnam

Even the Coalition commanders in Afghanistan wonder if they can win the war
Will history repeat itself in Afghanistan?

British military intervention in Afghanistan has a chequered history, making it easy to conclude that British forces will fail again


 


Analysis: Where Afghan humanitarianism ends and development begins  
Source: IRIN By:    

DAMQOL - Afghanistan suffers from cyclical natural disasters - floods and drought - which affect people annually and require expensive emergency responses, but their impacts could well be avoided, or at least mitigated, if proper water management systems or dams were built, for example.

Some farmers could switch from rain-fed wheat crops, which require a lot of water, to other crops, like grapes or almonds. But these kinds of transitions require long-term multi-year plans, inherently at odds with emergency responses, based on annual appeals for funding.

“Responding to eight droughts in 11 years makes no sense,” Michael Keating, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Afghanistan, said recently. “There is something going wrong.”

“It is not a complete mystery how some of these problems can be addressed,” Keating told IRIN. “They shouldn’t be addressed by basic emergency humanitarian action.”

And yet, for much of the past decade, humanitarians have been drawn into things like infrastructure and early recovery programmes.

“A lot of humanitarian assistance has been partly diverted from its objective,” said Laurent Saillard, head of the European Commission’s humanitarian aid arm (ECHO) in Afghanistan. “Instead of being used for what it’s supposed to be used for - life-saving emergency interventions - it is trying to address chronic poverty, and of course, at the end of the day, not achieving sustainable results.”

Over the past 10 years, a cumulative US$3.2 billion has been spent in Afghanistan on programmes outlined in the international community’s annual appeals for humanitarian funding - the Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP). The CAP is estimated to account for only half of all humanitarian funding.

“[There is] frustration from the population which receives the assistance [because it] is not exactly what they need... frustration from the implementing agencies, [who] realize that they have been present for 10 years, repeating all sorts of interventions, and yet they have not addressed the problem… and frustration from the donors, [who] feel that the money is being wasted, in a way,” Saillard told IRIN.

This year’s drought - affecting 2.8 million people - brought the problem to new heights: “That is a scale that is simply not sustainable,” said Aidan O’Leary, the head of OCHA in Afghanistan.

“At the end of the day, humanitarian actors can only ever bring emergency relief," he added. "We cannot bring solutions. [People] want houses, roads, livelihoods. Humanitarian actors can’t deliver that. They’re never going to be able to deliver that."

New approach

This year’s CAP, launched in Kabul on 28 January, aims to “go back to basics” by focusing on more strictly humanitarian needs. “If you make the field too broad, you can’t get anything done,” O’Leary told IRIN.

The international humanitarian community has requested one quarter less than last year, even though humanitarian needs are increasing. It has asked for $437 million to help 8.8 million Afghans, including help for civilians affected by armed conflict, initial assistance for refugees and internally displaced people returning to their areas of origin, and life-saving actions for those affected by natural disasters.

This excludes projects for the “chronically vulnerable populations” - a task deemed better left to development actors.

How we got here

Much of the problem, aid workers say, lies in the fact that the billions of dollars in development aid invested in the country over the last decade have not been spent cohesively or based on needs, but rather driven by short-term political and military aims.

Around $57 billion dollars of development assistance have been spent in Afghanistan since 2001, and yet 10 million people are still living on the edge, Keating said.

“That does raise the question: Have the investments been equitable? Is the money being used in a way that helps these communities reduce their vulnerability and doesn’t expose them to repeated humanitarian crisis?”

Falling through the cracks

Nor has the government provided the answer, aid workers say. Saillard argues the humanitarian community is partly to blame in allowing the government to defer its responsibilities, often under the guise of lack of capacity. “The fact that there is this presence keeps the right actors sometimes outside the game,” he noted.

But the minister of rural rehabilitation and development, Jarullah Mansoori, argues that with its budget of $500 million per year, his ministry has made great strides in building communities’ resilience to shocks and in managing the impacts of disasters.

It has created a central coordinating body, the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority; has dug irrigation canals; encouraged rural enterprise development; and improved access to health and education in rural areas. The ministry’s flagship National Solidarity Programme has been credited with reaching the local level with cash-for-work or cash-for-assets programmes.

“If you compare the damage of disasters eight years ago to... now, you will see a lot of differences,” the minister told IRIN. “But still, since this country went through more than three decades of very damaging and destructive war and crisis, it needs a lot of effort in every aspect.”

Other aid workers say mitigation projects, like flood protection walls, have fallen through the cracks. They are not a central part of the Afghanistan National Development Strategy, which the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan is mandated to support; nor are they technically part of OCHA’s mandate. The UN Development Programme (UNDP), which might traditionally take on such projects, has been focused on improving governance and reducing poverty, and is scaling back its direct presence across the country in order to increasingly work through the government.

"Disaster risk reduction is almost non-existent," said one development worker. "I've noticed that gap. There's very little proactive work done here. It's all reactive."

Dialogue

Another part of the problem has been a lack of understanding of what exactly “humanitarian” means and where the line is drawn. “It’s quite blurred,” as one field worker put it. “Is any one activity development or humanitarian?”

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has been dealing with this question for years, as refugees returning from Iran and Pakistan - given an initial humanitarian assistance - struggle to integrate in the longer term.

“Where does humanitarian assistance stop and where does development aid begin?” Suzanne Murray Jones, a senior adviser at UNHCR, has been asking herself. “How do we bridge the gap?”

Part of the answer, she said, is a greater dialogue between humanitarian and development partners to encourage development investments in the same areas where people are returning en masse.

“We know nothing about development of livelihoods or about large-scale agriculture. It’s not our expertise. It’s for the FAOs or ILOs to go to these sites and say this is what’s needed,” she said, in reference to the Food and Agriculture Organization and the International Labour Organization. “It’s getting the synergy together to work together.”

To that end, humanitarian actors now participate in monthly meetings of the heads of developmental agencies to try to flag issues of concern, and O’Leary is increasingly advocating development.

“We have to be more vocal,” he said. “I have no interest in having humanitarians indefinitely here in Afghanistan. We have to be looking for our exit strategy. That involves a peace process and development actors developing the key issues. Is it going to take decades? Yes. But it has to be on the agenda now.”

Gaps

In the meantime, as humanitarians try to return to their more traditional role, they find themselves in a tricky position. Keating recalls an informal settlement he visited in Kabul where people were living with “nothing”.

“You can’t respond on a humanitarian basis endlessly, and yet there is no development activity that we could perceive to address their needs," he said. "They’re falling between two stools. I suspect that is true of a very large number of people in rural areas as well.”

Aid workers acknowledge that pulling back could lead to holes in coverage. But for Saillard, it might be a necessary evil. “Sometimes you have to create gaps for the right actors to wake up and take their responsibilities seriously,” he said.

 

 

 

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