Oxfam was pleased to hear that the new US strategy for Afghanistan will support ministries, governors, and local leaders that deliver for the Afghan people and combat corruption. We were also pleased to hear that there will be more focused assistance on agriculture, as up to 80 percent of Afghans rely on agriculture and related trades to survive.
"As more troops are deployed, conflict is expected to increase in and around Afghan villages. This means everything must be done to protect civilians caught up in the middle of the conflict. One man we interviewed for our latest report said, ‘at night, the Taliban come and take shelter in our villages and then leave. The next day, when the coalition forces become aware of the Taliban in our areas, they bomb us.’ These are the realities on the ground that must be taken into consideration as the United States implements its new strategy.
"The civilian strategy President Obama referred to in his speech is still unclear. Oxfam hoped to see a greater emphasis on the importance of development in the President’s new strategy. What is clear is that there is no purely military solution to Afghanistan and that fighting poverty in a country where half of Afghans are impoverished, is also vital. The well-being of ordinary Afghans will be undermined if aid is based on military objectives, rather than Afghans’ needs.
“A disproportionate share of aid has been allocated to the southern provinces where international forces are operating. Too much of this aid is also tied to security objectives where it seeks to achieve rapid material results. This short-term approach fails to promote local ownership and isn't the way forward. A bottom-up approach where change comes from local leaders must be immediately prioritized.”
Download the report: The Cost of War: Afghan Experiences of Conflict, 1978 - 2009.
Oxfam's emergency work in Afghanistan