Afghanistan: January 16, 2002


The Afghan government continues to plead for a quick infusion of cash so they can meet their payroll. Civil servants were paid sporadically under Taliban and most have not been paid for months. The problem is how much of the money will be stolen by officials before it gets to where it is supposed to go. What actually works best in delivering aid money to those who need it is to get local stake holders involved in joint ventures. The aid agencies do this with the local trucking companies to get the food aid through (the truckers take on the risk, for a reasonable price, of loss to accident or banditry.) On a larger scale you would have to do something like getting merchant banks to second some of their hotshots to go over their and structure deals that distribute the risks and fairly price the costs of getting things done most efficiently. The U.S. says it will begin, this week, releasing $220 million in frozen Afghan Taliban assets for the Afghan government.

An American who has gone into Afghanistan three times to deliver humanitarian aid collected privately has apparently been kidnapped by a warlord and is being held for $25,000 ransom. 


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