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  • The Other War Front: Economic Development in Afghanistan

    The U.S. military has undergone a crash course in economic development while fighting the war in Afghanistan, and development agencies could stand to learn some of the military’s lessons.

    Take for example the National Guard unit out of Indiana. The unit is called an “Agribusiness Development Team” and is teaching Afghan high schoolers about agriculture and business. The unit provides lesson plans on over 60 subjects, including financial management and record keeping. U.S. Army Major Jeremy Gulley is quoted as saying, “Improved education will illuminate the path to a future that thirty years of war has made impossible and unknowable.

    When a significant portion of insurgents are fighting for a paycheck and not out of ideology, education and job training can be effective tools in fighting the Taliban.

    A Provisional Reconstruction Team in Nangarhar Province is aiding in the construction of a bridge over the Kabul River. This bridge will open commerce between nearby districts and major city centers, allowing farmers to sell their goods in larger markets. It will also provide district residents a permanent river crossing; they are usually cut off during the annual flood season. By providing a regular market for the farmers’ goods, this project will enable them to earn a better and more consistent income and better provide for their families.

    These principles apply not just to war-torn areas but to developing countries more generally. Effective development aid should enable people to help themselves. By focusing on education, training, and tools that allow people to pull themselves out of poverty, development work has the potential to create economic opportunities that can help to undermine support for the Taliban.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    2 Responses to The Other War Front: Economic Development in Afghanistan

    1. George Colgrove, VA says:

      This is good and I support this. However, I hope military or DoD funding is not going to this. I do not mind idle soldiers providing such educational services – that is if they are already up to speed with the subject matter, but I feel it would be far better use of military dollars to be put towards the fight not this kind of stuff. This is an ideal place to accept donated funds, instructors and materials from the private sector (even globally) and use that to bring places like this up to speed.

      The defense budget is heavy laden with non-military programs and services. Cutting the defense budget should include programs like this but with a caveat. We should develop a new NON-MILITARY program within the periphery of the DoD comprised of non federal employees nor soldiers – i.e. private sector volunteers and privately employed people. In otherwords no federal funds. It would be a great opportunity for retired service members to participate. This coordination office and all coordination duties should be paid for out of donations and employed by private sector personal and volunteers – not by the federal coffers. This group should be seeking volunteers, materials, funding, and sponsors to be coordinated in cooperation and protection of the US military. The military can help get this group into places in need then provide protection for these services.

      We need to start thinking of new ways of providing these kinds of extras. They are nice and arguable needed. But the federal government – including the DoD is 36% over drawn on its revenue. We need to cut a third of the government or we stand to go deeper into debt. As nice as these things are we can no longer afford to take dollars away from the fight. Cuts to the DoD will happen as it will elsewhere. How we cut will determine how determine we are to the fight.

      You can call it something like EduCorps and dedicate the Private Sector organization the support of the DoD and orient the organization to educating people in war torn regions. Just do not force the cash strapped taxpayers to cover the cost and do not use the national debt to pay for it. There are enough altruistic people and corporations who would love to put their names to this.

    2. Pingback: » Financial News Update – 12/13/10 NoisyRoom.net: The Progressive Hunter

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