Country: Afghanistan

The politicisation of humanitarian aid and its consequences for Afghans

The politicisation of humanitarian assistance is one of the most critical issues facing humanitarianism today. In Afghanistan this politicisation has excluded and marginalised war-affected people, as well as others in need of help. As an Afghan, I have lived through more than 20 years of conflict; as an aid worker, I am trying to propagate… Read more »

The Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund: a ‘lack-of-Trust’ Fund for Afghanistan?

In the last issue of Humanitarian Exchange (number 21), Valéry Ridde argued that the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) will (1) sideline NGOs; (2) complicate coordination mechanisms; and (3) lead to the privatisation of health systems. Alternatives to the ARTF are not suggested. While in our view the article is right to point out the… Read more »

War, money and aid

That relief aid has an impact on war economies – and at worst is guilty of fuelling or prolonging conflict – has become almost an article of faith within the humanitarian community. Yet this has been accepted in the absence of any real monetary analysis. Yet a close look at the economics of money in… Read more »

The war on terror’s challenge to humanitarian action

It is a commonplace to say that the world has changed since 11 September. This also holds true for those dedicated to humanitarian action. The cause of the change for us, however, is not so much the attacks themselves or their vicious character. What has changed is that the US, the leading international power, has… Read more »

Afghanistan: a case study in refugee return

Western governments have cited the large-scale return of Afghan refugees from Pakistan and Iran as a key indicator of the success of the US-led military intervention in Afghanistan, and the subsequent Bonn Agreement. It has thus been hailed as a vote of confidence in Afghanistan’s interim, Western-sponsored government, and has been used to justify a… Read more »

Why a trust fund won’t work in Afghanistan

The capture of Kabul by the Northern Alliance in November 2001 and the return of former king Zahir Shah in April 2002 have raised hopes that peace in Afghanistan may finally be within reach. Amid massive publicity and sudden international attention, pledges of funding for the country have reached more than $4.5 billion for the… Read more »

Tajikistan: the next-door neighbour

For years after the end of the civil war in 1992, Tajikistan attracted little outside attention, despite insecurity, economic collapse, ethnic strife and humanitarian need. This all changed with the US war against the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan. A year ago, Tajikistan faced another severe drought and food insecurity, the health system had collapsed and… Read more »

Was international emergency relief aid in Kosovo ‘humanitarian’?

There are at least a dozen agency-commissioned evaluations of the international aid response in Kosovo, together with another three dozen essays and articles similarly evaluative in intent. Although their quality, credibility and coverage vary greatly, taken together they give a broad view of an aid response. This article assesses the key messages emerging from these… Read more »

Aid responses to Afghanistan: learning from previous evaluations

This article distils nine key lessons from previous evaluations that have direct – or potential – relevance to Afghanistan today. More than 50 formal evaluation reports were drawn on, supplemented by key evaluative studies. While there are unique aspects to the current situation in Afghanistan, many elements, and their likely evolution, stand comparison with previous… Read more »