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12 December 2009

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Arun

One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter remains true as long each only examines only the end, and not both the means and the ends.

One simple test is how does the terrorist/freedom fighter behave towards other groups that have the same goal.

As an application of that principle, the Mujahideen sponsored via Pakistan to fight the Soviets were murderous to each other; and they classify as terrorists, not freedom fighters.

JohnH

This is an audit? It looks to have been produced by one grunt with a computer and Google.

Moreover, the audit seemed to pluck a single goal out of the many that have been used to justify the Occupation: stabilization. What happened catching OBL and protecting human rights, and promoting democracy?

http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/12/03/afghanistan-keep-promises-afghan-women

HRW did its own audit: "While the plight of women and girls under the Taliban was used to help justify the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, women's rights have not been a consistent priority of the government or its international backers."

"The situation for Afghan women and girls is dire and could deteriorate."

Charles I

Future prospects for a domestic security capability are nicely limned in this 6 minute video which FB Ali was kind enough to forward: Exactly How good are the Afghan troops?

http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/748.html

curious

Total and complete fraud.

$40B spending in a country with less than $9B GDP? population of 20m? WTF? And people wonder why the war keeps going.

With that much money, they better keep the taliban to keep shooting to put on a good show. Because at $400 GDP/capita, 2009 budget is enough to pay every single afghanis, man, women and children wage to do nothing for 5 years.

for comparison:

Florida state. Population 18m. (Budget 2005:$57B, 2005:$65)

NY state. Population 19m. (Budget 2007:$118B)

------
Ghana. Population 23m. (Budget 2008: $5.5B) That's right. Total government budget!

http://www.deagel.com/country/Ghana_c0079.aspx

Charles I

Cripes.

Security problems mean "Oversight of ongoing programs restricted.

The GAO has "assessed the reliability of these financial and attack data as part of our previous work and have determined that they are sufficiently reliable for our purposes. Because DOD uses similar methodologies to derive the attack data it reports for Afghanistan and Iraq, we were able to compare both sets of data".

But there's a hitch.


DOD doesn't agree with the comparisons, but the explanation would "involve sensitive information that could not be included in this report"

So, first there's no oversight due to security, we don't know what the hell is going on.

Then report utilizes comparative assessment factors that "could not be included in this report".

I guess you get what you pay for. I see in the charts that $38bn in assistance was "provided to Afghanistan 2002 -2009.

I know Canada has put $50 million into a dam refurbishment project supposed to electrify development potential and create 10,000 jobs. After 8 years and the $50 mill, Canada's auditor General determined that they occasionally churn out a smidgeon of power, with butter churns for all I know, and a grand total of EIGHTYNINE jobs have been created.

The situation is dire and going to get direr, and at the end of our attention spans, we will never put the will to power into it to do it right. I'm sorry for the women and children, but we are not going to fix it, let alone stabilize it.


Charles I

Further to my dam comment above:


Taliban stalls key hydroelectric turbine project in Afghanistan

Convoy diverted British troops from front but generator may never be used

* Jon Boone in Kabul
* guardian.co.uk, Sunday 13 December 2009 22.18 GMT

Kajaki dam, Afghanistan

Two thousand British troops took part in the mission to deliver 220 tonnes of equipment to the Kajaki dam, pictured. Photograph: Bronwen Roberts/AFP/Getty Images

An enormous hydroelectric turbine dragged at huge cost by British troops through Taliban heartlands last year may never be installed because Nato has been unable to secure a 30-mile stretch of road leading to an isolated dam in northern Helmand.

The daring mission to deliver 220 tonnes of equipment to the Kajaki dam in Afghanistan in September 2008 was hailed as one of the biggest success stories of the British Army's three-year deployment in Helmand.

Two thousand British troops took part in the five-day convoy through enemy territory, which was launched because the main road leading to the dam was too vulnerable to Taliban attacks.

Senior British officers privately say the enormous diversion of scarce military resources for the operation allowed the Taliban to make major gains in other critical areas of the province, including Nad Ali, which subsequently saw some of the most intense fighting between British forces and insurgents.

Within a couple of months of the Kajaki operation, areas close to the British base in Lashkar Gah had deteriorated so badly that troops had to be resupplied by air drop.

The dam continues to be besieged by Taliban fighters and, 15 months after the mission by the UK troops, the turbine's components remain unassembled because huge amounts of cement that are required to install the equipment cannot be delivered safely.

Now the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the wing of the United States government which has so far pumped $47m (£29m) into the project, intended to electrify much of southern Afghanistan, says it is packing the turbine parts away and looking for other energy projects to invest in across Afghanistan.

"Our message is that until we have a secure road we cannot continue with the installation of turbine two," said John Smith-Sreen, head of energy and water projects for USAID in Kabul.

"When the turbine was moved in by British and American forces it was a huge effort and it was done in a point of time. But we can't move in the large quantity of cement and aggregate that we need in a point of time, we need a sustained effort," he said.

The road would need to be secured for about half a year.

While the cement required could probably be transported in around half that time, civilian contractors would need to see the road had been secured for about three months to attract them to the project, Smith-Sreen said.

He added that CMIC, a Chinese company contracted to install the turbine, "left due to security concerns overnight" when it was clear that the road would not be secured. The agency has not been able to find another subcontractor prepared to do the work.

USAID says about 30 miles of road is affected, but at a time when General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan, is pursuing a strategy of concentrating effort on protecting large towns and cities from Taliban influence, securing a stretch of road in a sparsely populated area of northern Helmand is unlikely to be a priority.

A spokesman for Task Force Helmand said there are no plans to change the current security operations at Kajaki, where British soldiers are responsible for an ongoing effort to provide a security "bubble" around the plant.

While insurgents have been unable to get close to the dam and its turbine hall, heavy fighting around the perimeter of the area of British control is an almost daily occurrence.

Smith-Sreen said USAID was currently "deciding what to do" with the turbine, but that the process of mothballing it had already begun in the run up to the contract expiring in April.

"Unless we are told otherwise we are going to continue the process of inventorying the parts and storing them away securely," he said. He said the agency had other areas where it was considering investing resources, including smaller electricity projects across country.

The problem of Kajaki highlights an dilemma for Nato forces trying to use development to win hearts and minds in an area where construction work is impossible or hugely expensive.

When the dam was built by US engineers in the 1950s as part of the cold war gamesmanship with the Soviet Union two turbines were installed, but a third bay was constructed and left empty. The intention had been to put the turbine in that slot when it was delivered last year.

Smith-Sreen said USAID was satisfied with the work it has been able to do to rehabilitate the two existing turbines, which since October have been transmitting around 33 megawatts to the southern provinces – "more power than either Kandahar or Helmand has seen for 30 years".

However, the same fighting that has made the road leading to the dam insecure has also led to frequent blackouts for Kandahar city and Lashkar Gah, with the power transmission lines from the remote generating plant regularly cut.

"We've had to slice the line back together many times," he said

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/13/afghanistan-turbine-taliban-british-army

Not too promising.

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