Thursday, 25th October 2012
Afghanistan: Development progress and prospects after 2014
Source: House of Commons International Development Committee (UK)
The future of Afghanistan is uncertain. There will be changes in its leadership, the withdrawal of international forces and a reduction in total overseas aid. It is not known what attitude neighbouring countries, particularly Pakistan, will take. The Taliban is stronger in many parts of Afghanistan than it was when our predecessor Committee visited the country in 2007. Despite these uncertainties we believe the UK should have a major aid budget in the country. We have an obligation to the millions of Afghans who have resisted the Taliban and the British soldiers who have died in the country...
The UK Government’s overarching strategy for its engagement in Afghanistan has given DFID the lead in creating a viable state. DFID has had some successes, for example in increasing tax revenue, but these gains will be difficult to sustain and further progress will not be made unless the Afghan Government is determined to achieve a similar outcome. We recommend the UK Government reconsider DFID’s focus on creating a ‘viable state’, giving greater emphasis to the provision of services and alleviating poverty.
While the situation for women in Afghanistan improved after the fall of the Taliban, it remains difficult and even appeared to us to have deteriorated in some respects since our last visit. Although DFID and the UK Government have spoken at length about women’s rights and women in Afghanistan, we are concerned that this has not been followed by adequate and specific action and funding. We recommend that girls’ education be made a greater priority and that DFID fund women’s shelters and legal advice for women.
It is estimated that over a third of Afghan children in the south are acutely malnourished and there are about half a million internally displaced people. If transition does not go smoothly the crisis will get worse. We recommend that DFID give a higher priority to its humanitarian work in Afghanistan. In the absence of any donor taking a lead then DFID may have to fulfil this role.
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By Adrian Janes
Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes is currently an Information Services Librarian with the London Borough of Havering.
In this role, he has particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by Free Pint Ltd. in 2007. He is also involved in training and publicising online reference resources and is a regular contributor to DocuTicker.
Adrian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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