In the last ten years the United States has spent around $18.8 billion in foreign aid to Afghanistan, excluding military costs and counter-narcotics programmes. Today it is spending - mostly through USAID - around $320 million a month. Eighty per cent of this money is being spent in the south and east of the country on short-term stabilisations programmes instead of longer term development projects, even though the evidence that such programmes promote stability is very limited. In fact, some research suggests the opposite.
These are some of the findings of a US Senate Foreign Relations Committee report, Evaluating US Foreign Assistance to Afghanistan, chaired by Sen. John Kerry.
Based on two years' research, the report contains some useful information. It points out, for example, that annual staff turnover at USAID in Kabul is more than 85 per cent and that an estimated 97 per cent of Afghanistan's GDP comes from the international military and donor community. Lots more stuff in here (and in the minority report) for policy wonks.