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A Path to Self-Reliance for Afghanistan

The Brussels Conference on Afghanistan is an important opportunity to create a roadmap for the country’s future. While Afghanistan’s current path has led to some progress, it is far from the most direct route to prosperity – not least because of deep flaws in aid delivery and domestic governance.

KABUL – The Brussels Conference on Afghanistan this week marks an important opportunity to create a roadmap for the country’s future. While Afghanistan’s current path has led to some progress, it is far from the most direct route to prosperity – not least because of deep flaws in aid delivery and domestic governance.

Since the National Unity Government, with Ashraf Ghani as President and Abdullah Abdullah as Cheif Executive, was established in 2014, the flow of aid to Afghanistan has declined sharply. And the aid received has not been delivered in a way that really promotes state-building, with international donors largely bypassing the Afghan government, in order to fund discrete stand-alone projects. From 2002 to 2010, 82% of the $56 billion in aid delivered to Afghanistan was spent through non-state institutions.

There was some justification for this approach. Donors believed that the Afghan state was too weak and corrupt to use their money effectively. And they were not entirely wrong: patronage and graft remain rampant in Afghanistan.

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