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16 I ORLD NEWSW Passion Islam I February 2009
Oxfam says: New US strategy
needed in Afghanistan
The United States must change its peace and development. civilians and forging a new international
strategy in Afghanistan if it is to avoid Washington is conducting a major approach to Afghanistan,” Offenheiser
a humanitarian crisis, with millions review of strategy in Afghanistan and said.
of Afghans struggling to survive and is expected to deploy up to 30,000 While the United States is by far
violence at its worst levels since 2001, more U.S. troops and commit much the largest donor to Afghanistan
an aid group said. bigger development assistance. pouring billions of dollars in aid into the
After almost three decades of But instead of focussing on impoverished country, humanitarian
war, Afghanistan remains one of the military efforts, the United States assistance is dwarfed by that spent
poorest and least developed countries and other donors should step up on military operations.
in the world. Drought and high food The U.S. military alone spends
prices have also hit many Afghans some $100 million a day fighting
hard. Taliban insurgents, but spending
On top of that some 5,000 on aid by all donors since 2001
people, including more than 2,000 amounts to only $7 million a day,
civilians, were killed in 2008 and aid agencies say.
insurgent attacks were up by 50 In 2007, U.S. funding for the
percent on the previous year. agricultural sector was less than 1
“With spreading insecurity, and percent of what it spent on security,
civilians facing critical needs, there despite 80 percent of Afghans
must be a comprehensive new relying heavily on agriculture to
strategy which will avert a major survive, said Oxfam.
crisis,” Raymond Offenheiser, Up to five million Afghans face
president of Oxfam America, a British- their humanitarian assistance and food shortages this year and more
based charity said in a statement. concentrate on long-term solutions as than a million young children and half
In a memo sent to U.S. President opposed to quick fixes, Oxfam said in a million women face serious health
Barack Obama, Oxfam, which has its memo to Obama. risks due to malnutrition, it said.
worked in Afghanistan for more than “With faltering reconstruction and Only half of a United Nations
20 years, outlined a 10 point plan rising instability, the United States emergency appeal for $404 million for
aimed at changing U.S. policy that if must look beyond military solutions Afghanistan, launched last July, has
adopted, it says, will help bring lasting and take a leading role in protecting been funded.
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