New Surge To Afghanistan Is Civilian, Not Military
JENNIFER LUDDEN, Host:
To find out more, we're joined by NPR's Kabul bureau chief, Quill Lawrence. Hi there, Quill.
QUILL LAWRENCE: Good morning.
LUDDEN: What is the scope of this civilian surge?
LAWRENCE: The budget for USAID is to four billion dollars this year, so it's a vast effort.
LUDDEN: And how's it going? I mean, what kind of challenges is this effort running into?
LAWRENCE: And it's very hard to hire qualified people in Afghanistan, which is one of the biggest problems with waste and corruption here.
LUDDEN: Would you have any sense of, you know, are Afghans receptive to these kinds of reforms?
LAWRENCE: So there's just a lot of capacity that needs to be built. And when you hear a foreign organization talking about wanting a quick impact rule of law improvement project, well, the answer of most of the aid communities, such a thing doesn't exist. You need to go through education and get an educated population that in a couple of decades might be able to improve a justice system, for example.
LUDDEN: The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, was in Kabul today as part of this civilian push. What's that about?
LAWRENCE: And she's also meeting with high level Afghan government officials, including President Karzai.
LUDDEN: NPR's Quill Lawrence in Kabul. Thanks so much.
LAWRENCE: Thank you. Happy New Year.
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