US militarizing Afghanistan aid

Al Jazeera reports that a number of aid organizations working in Afghanistan have turned down funding from the US government as the money has strings attached to military operations.

Anne Richard, of the International Rescue Committee, told Al Jazeera: "Sometimes, military leaders assume that because we are in the same place, we share the same over-arching goals. … Our goal is to help the Afghan people - ideally, help themselves. The military's goal is to fight in a war and to provide security. … They are motivated by US national interest, we are motivated by humanitarian causes, humanitarian principals."

William Frej, the mission director for USAID, said: "Militarization of aid is a gross mischaracterization of what actually happens on the ground. Without [counterinsurgency] and without the military's support, many of the humanitarian agencies - such as Oxfam - that raise such complaints would not be able to enter the areas once controlled by insurgents."

Beyond risks of being closely associated with the military, aid organizations also argue that they are simply better at delivering aid. "I just don't think the military should be telling Americans if they want to work in humanitarian fields, they should go into the military," Richard said.

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