Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pissing Into the Wind, a.k.a. Afghanistan

First, the good news from Afghanistan.   Now, the other news.  US officials are predicting a severe drought will arrive this year, potentially leaving millions of poor hungry and fueling instability.

"Many Afghans live right on the edge of starvation and without necessary water there will be communities that will be on the move, seeking pasture and agricultural work in other areas," a senior U.S. defence official said on condition of anonymity.

Record world grain prices will make it difficult for the Kabul government to buy staples to ease shortfalls.   But the Karzai government may not be in a position to buy anything due to its handling of the country's largest bank.

An International Monetary Fund assessment of how the Afghan government handled mismanagement and fraud at the country's largest private bank is so bleak it could jeopardise critical donor support for Afghanistan and have devastating political consequences, diplomats said on Tuesday.


Corruption, bad loans and mismanagement cost Kabulbank hundreds of millions of dollars and the government's inability to come up with a serious solution could see the IMF withdraw its support for aid-reliant Afghanistan, four diplomats said. 

The Kabulbank scandal, in which at least $579 million has been put at risk, has added a banking crisis to Afghanistan's troubles, which include a growing insurgency and political paralysis.


The International Monetary Fund and the Afghan government and central bank are at loggerheads over what to do with the politically well-connected Kabulbank: the IMF wants it placed in receivership immediately to stem losses but Kabul wants a gradual rehabilitation and sale.

A narco-economy, corruption, tribalism and warlordism, religious fundamentalism, drought and floods and an insurgency/civil war.  How in hell is the West supposed to salvage that?   What were we thinking?

4 comments:

double nickel said...

GWB was thinking with his pecker, which inevitiably stiffened up when thoughts of bombing the crap out of Afghanistan popped into his tiny brain. The rest of the NATO countries that actually sent soldiers prepared to fight simply went along for the ride.

The Mound of Sound said...

Support the troops. If we'd actually meant that, we'd have had them out of that cesspit years ago.

thwap said...

We need Terry Glavin to explain to us again that all of us who criticize this clusterf**k are stupid dupes or evil accomplices of the Islamofascists.

His buddy Brian, of the Canada-Afghanistan blog recently went on a fact-finding mission to Afghanistan.

Apparently he walked around one of the nicer neighbourhoods in Kabul and some children smiled at him.

Mission Accomplished!!!

The Mound of Sound said...

I am astounded at how freely we overestimate our strength and underestimate our enemies in this type of warfare. We think that, because we can whip a conventional adversary vastly more powerful than the insurgents in a day or two, taking down a small force of guerrillas is no sweat.

We follow that up by waging military war for year on end, never being defeated but never really winning anything either. The guerrillas know full well that can't defeat us militarily but time of itself will take care of us, it always does. To win they merely need survive.

Economists love this. It pits an enormously expensive, high-tech, state of the art, conventional military juggernaut against an astonishingly inexpensive, low-tech and vastly outnumbered insurgency in an open-ended conflict in which, usually, neither side can be defeated in their chosen and distinctly different form of warfare.

For our side, it's a sucker's bet.