Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Struggling for Power in Afghanistan

by Glen Zorpette at The New York Times Opinion

THE Western campaign for hearts and minds in Afghanistan is based heavily on providing roads, dams, buildings and, especially, electricity. The United States Agency for International Development, or U.S.A.I.D., expects to spend $2.1 billion this year in Afghanistan. It has been working there for half a century, since the Soviets and Americans were competing to be the country’s development partners.

So you’d think that a new five-year, $1.2 billion program that U.S.A.I.D. has proposed to create a modern electrical grid there would be a model. You’d be quite wrong.

When it comes to electricity, the agency has a dismal record, one that needs to be reviewed now, before the grid plan moves ahead. Afghanistan is in the bottom 10 percent of the world in electricity consumption per capita; if recent patterns hold, it will stay there as U.S.A.I.D. and the State Department try to appease the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, and also give American officials a veneer of victory over Afghanistan’s problems as American troops start to withdraw. President Obama’s desire to speed the withdrawal makes the issue more urgent.

Please read more at the New York Times

July 6, 2011 - Posted by | Afghanistan, USAID | , ,

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