Friday, January 8, 2010


I made extremely good time from Mazar-e-Sharif to Bagram, but I will be stuck here for quite some time. There were still a few sailors from the returning hospital mentor team I served with on Spann here when I arrived. They left two weeks before I did. So I have plenty more time to exercise at a higher elevation and reflect.

One of the things I am considering is Sustainability. In particular how will Afghanistan be able to sustain what has been started. In general the best approach to most issues or problems is to find a low cost-high return solution(IE not always the way we do things in the US). There is much effort being placed on Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) force generation and infrastructure development. What I have not seen or heard about is economic development or income programs for the country of Afghanistan.

This is concerning since whatever progress, programs, or forces we build and equip here will need to be funded for the long term. Who is going to pay? I fear it will be American and Coalition taxpayers. There are resources here in the country such as agriculture, mines, and textiles. If these areas are not developed and appropriately taxed by the Afghan government I do not see how it will financially survive. There is no income tax here. There is no sales tax that I have witnessed. The only taxation I have heard about is on contractors. As an example if NATO funds a 5 million dollar project and awards the construction to a contractor, then the contractor must pay 20% of the price to the Afghan government. So out of the 5 million dollar project, 1 million goes directly to the Afghan government. If this is the only income generation other than direct grants from the US and other Coalition governments, the government of Afghanistan will indeed be trouble after our support dissipates.

So while building cost effective solutions at all levels is important to improve the lives and services of the people of Afghanistan, a long term funding plan so that this country can afford all that is being built up is just as important.

1 comment:

  1. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 01/08/2010 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.