The Â£5 million of British money paid to suicide bombers’ families by the Palestinian Authority seemed staggering. Here is another fun fact all of Britain will be thrilled to hear in a global fiscal crisis, talk of “austerity,” and so forth.
“Â£70m of British aid ‘paid to the Taliban’: Cash wasted on bribes and protection money, say campaigners,” by Kirsty Walker for the Daily Mail, August 13:
Millions of pounds of taxpayers” money could be ending up in the pockets of Taliban insurgents and corrupt Afghan officials, a damning report has revealed.
The International Crisis Group warned that up to 10 per cent of overseas aid was being paid in bribes and protection money to the Taliban and officials in Kabul.
Over the next four years, the Prime Minister has pledged to give Â£710million to Afghanistan alone. That could mean up to Â£70million of British money going to the very people we are fighting.
The Department for International Development spent Â£102million on aid to Afghanistan in the last financial year, but this will rise to Â£178million this year. Of these totals, 16 per cent goes to Helmand province, where British troops operate.
The hard-hitting report found that despite billions being poured into Afghanistan in aid, the country shows no signs of becoming “˜politically stable or economically viable”.
It also warned that there was “˜no possibility” of the country becoming secure within the next three years, despite the efforts of Britain and other Nato countries.
The report will fuel criticism by some Tory MPs over David Cameron’s promise to increase UK spending on aid to 0.7 per cent of GDP at a time when other Whitehall departments are being hit with swingeing cuts.
A total of Â£35billion has been given to Afghanistan by the international community since 2001.
The report by the ICG, which campaigns to prevent global conflicts, said: “˜After a decade of major security, development and humanitarian assistance, the international community has failed to achieve a politically stable and economically viable Afghanistan.
“˜Despite billions of dollars in aid, state institutions remain fragile and unable to provide good governance, deliver basic services to the majority of the population or guarantee human safety.”
It went on to warn that aid delivery was being “˜undermined by corruption in Kabul and bribes paid to insurgent groups to ensure security for development projects”.
Contractors working on vital projects — such as building roads, hospitals and schools — have reported paying up to 10 per cent of the cost to the Taliban, otherwise they are prevented from finishing their work or “˜at worst” had their projects and staff attacked.
The ICG said: “˜Consequently, taxpayers” money fuels corruption networks.”
Previous reports have been highly critical of the West’s aid efforts, warning that Afghanistan is receiving more than it can spend.
Meanwhile, as many as half of the country”s infrastructure projects have been estimated to end in failure. Mr Cameron’s controversial decision to increase spending on international aid dates back to his early attempts to modernise the party, but Conservative MPs are becoming increasingly vocal in their criticism. […]
Tory MP Philip Davies said: “˜It is unjustifiable and unacceptable.
“˜It is bad enough that we are giving so much money away in overseas aid. But it is a further kick in the teeth to taxpayers when they see it wasted and frittered away on corruption.…