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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 'There hasn't been two seconds of intelligent discussion about living standards in Afghanistan'
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Thursday, December 03, 2009

'There hasn't been two seconds of intelligent discussion about living standards in Afghanistan'


this guy is talking about the afghanistan i have personally experienced...
The poverty in Afghanistan is almost beyond imagining. Thirty Afghans die from TB every day; life expectancy is 43 years; per capita income is $426; only 13% have access to sanitary drinking water; fewer than one in four are literate; access to electricity is among the lowest in the world. Conditions for women are brutal. If Obama plans to address these issues, he's pretty much keeping it secret, points out world poverty expert Jeffrey Sachs. But without addressing them, can stepped-up American military involvement succeed? Or is it bound to fail?

and he makes the same point i've been making ever since my feet first hit the ground in kabul back in march 2008...
Columbia University economist Jeffrey D. Sachs, one of the foremost experts on extreme poverty in underdeveloped nations, says it is past time for the United States to end its war in Afghanistan, the world’s fifth poorest nation. In an interview with Nieman Watchdog in November, Sachs said the United States should reverse its priorities and fund major sustainable development programs, which would not only help reduce Afghanistan’s overwhelming poverty but would be a surer way to help achieve greater U.S. security.

As Sachs wrote last May in The Guardian newspaper of London, U.S. foreign policy “has failed in recent years mainly because the U.S. has relied on military force to address problems that demand development assistance and diplomacy. Young men become fighters in places such as Sudan, Somalia, Pakistan and Afghanistan because they lack gainful employment. Extreme ideologies influence people when they can’t feed their families, and when lack of access to family planning leads to an unwanted population explosion.”

This applies particularly to Afghanistan and the neighboring provinces of Pakistan, which “are impoverished regions, with vast unemployment, bulging youth populations, prolonged droughts, widespread hunger and pervasive economic deprivation. It is easy for the Taliban and al-Qaida to mobilize fighters under such conditions.” With improved economic conditions, a major recruiting tool for the Taliban and al-Qaida – as well as extremists’ threats to the United States – would be substantially weakened.

i've said it repeatedly - desperate people will do desperate things... why can't we see that and do something to break the cycle...?

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