Afghanistan reconstruction questioned

1 April 2003

In late March international donors pledged further finance towards the reconstruction of Afghanistan. However civil society groups are complaining that the policy approach being promoted by donors is not appropriate. Bijay Kumar, ActionAid Country Director in Afghanistan, commented: “The national development framework, drafted by a few people who were influenced by an ideology of market principles, was presented in April 2002 but did not go through an adequate consultation process. Even the first attempt to translate it into the local language was only done as late as October. The claims that it represents the needs and aspirations of Afghan society cannot therefore be founded. But it is already being used as a ‘bible’ by donors to effect their investments. In the absence of the skills and capacities adversely affected by 24 years of war, handing over the economy to a multinational-led privatisation process is bound to hurt poor, marginalised and unemployed people.” The World Bank stated that its approach to post-conflict reconstruction in East Timor was a model which could be followed in Afghanistan. However Kumar said “Afghanistan is unique, its situation is completely different from the context of East Timor”.

National Development Framework civil society research project report