The issue of United States' aid to Afghanistan is a topic of interesting consideration given the current U.S. budget deficit and ongoing economic uncertainty. Over the years the United States has spent billions providing money and food aid to help build strength and confidence in Afghanistan's rising new government. Unfortunately, the results of this have not been entirely positive nor have they been driven by the purest of motives; there is some level of profiteering occurring using aid money, and there is also a practical U.S. interest in the stability and viability of the Afghan nation and people. If the United States were providing purely humanitarian aid without military or political involvement and requirements, the situation would be quite different. As it is, U.S. aid in the country is a complex and controversial issue.
Since Afghanistan was taken over by the Taliban, the country has been in chaos. Government personnel are stealing from within the government, and the only people who can help in the fight against this corruption are the same one who fights the troops day in and out. It could be suggested that many in power prefer to keep the country from progressing, as the incoming aid is of great personal advantage to them and would be cut off in a situation where Afghanistan was stabilized and had a health economy. As the personal gain obtained from a few national and tribal leaders as well as others involved in the aid-disbursing supply chain continues to grow, the United States' budget deficit and debt continues to rise, as does the body count of U.S., international, and Afghani casualties involved in the military violence in the country. The American people will not likely support policies or politicians in favor of continuing to provide major amounts of aid to a country with a corrupt and ineffective system for using that aid when the United States itself is still perched on the brink of a renewed financial crisis and a possible second recession.
Afghanistan has become one of the leading recipients of international aid in terms of money, food, as well as security and military resources, "totaling around U.S.$286.4 billion, or U.S.$9,426 per Afghan citizen" (Poole, 2010). The United States is leading the pack in terms of providing this aid, and is also the foreign nation most directly involved in trying to stabilize the economy and political system in Afghanistan; according to the Afghan government, the U.S. provides "a total of $57bn" in aid (Lamble, 2011). According to research, the economy in Afghanistan become so dependent on international that nothing of any noticeable impact on the national level can be accomplished without these foreign resources. Again, as receiving this level of aid is now such an integral part of the economy, it could very well be that there is a resistance to real internal progress based on a desire to keep foreign aid and certain of the people and systems it supports firmly in place in the country.
The people elected or appointed to leadership positions in Afghanistan and the personal gain they are deriving from international aid to the country could definitely be a major part of the problems that persist in the nation. In one example of likely outright theft occurring in July of 2011, money meant to help rebuild Afghanistan was said to be lost in transit. With the growing criticism from the American general public regarding the nation's current debt crisis, acting Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction Herbert Richardson made the point that, "the United States has poured billions of aid dollars into a country 'plagued by corruption, insurgency, and the narcotics trade.' He added that 'it is essential that we use all available tools to ensure that U.S. dollars are protected from fraud and diversion to the insurgency'" (ctd. In Karzai, 2010). In other words, the U.S. is driving itself deeper into debt giving aid to a country that often ends up being used in the narcotics trade and even to fund those that are fighting the United States. That this situation should be allowed to continue is baffling given these facts.
Despite all of this, however, the United States continue to give money aid…