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The fallacy of Aids in Afghanistan Amid Covid-19 Tensions

By Mohammad Abid Bahrami

Starting its first hit on 24th February, the pandemic  is now strikingly growing in Afghanistan. Much of what has been said about resisting the pandemic is unexpectedly unrealistic or at least costly to counter the virus. 

However, to some this article might seem a sad and pessimistic one but at the same time is frankly exposing the harsh reality. 

Below I list the series of aids ( financial & medical  ones ) in order starting from the beginning of the pandemic outbreak until now in the region : 

  • The first aid from China has been received in Afghanistan which came in form of medical aid on 2nd of April.[1] 
  • On 3rd April ,The World bank pledged to help Afghanistan to fight covid-19 with the sum of  USD 100.4 million [2]
  • On 17th April The EU announced to allot 117 million Euros   for technical support in fighting the pandemic [3] 
  • The Asian development bank provided $ 50 million [4]
  • A qatari foundation and some Afghan investors provided $ 2 million aids to Afghanistan [5]
  • An Indian investor , provided 24,000 N95 masks and 1,000 hazmat suits to the public health directorate of Herat [6]
  • $ 25 million by the US and $ 220 million in loans by IMF [ 7]

Nevertheless, the effectiveness and transparency in putting these aids to effect and the accountability of the government is quite debatable. 

I may put some presumptions here as follow and elucidate them briefly:

1- The aids have not been yet arrived to its final destination.

2 – The aids might have come to country but lack of transparency, poor management and corruption could fail the aid‘s effectiveness.

3- The aids might have been destined to be used  to offset the government budget deficit or to fill in the budget of the state.

The aids have not been yet arrived to its final destination 

Many international institutions such as IMF , world bank, European Union and Asian development bank pledged for financial and technical support to resist  covid-19 in Afghanistan. But due to different and overwhelming bureaucratic procedures in documenting the aids , it is conceivable that it takes time and is not an easy process however, I deem this as the least possible reason for the failure of the aids’ deliverance to the region because these institutions are cemented with decisive policies that do not put its worth under question.

The aids might have come to country but lack of transparency , poor management and corruption could fail the aid’s effectiveness

The most predominantly obstacle towards the effectiveness of the foreign aids not only now but since the formation of new government is having corrupted elites and corruption in government.  This is well conceivable and tremendously failed the path of development in Afghanistan for more than a decade. Having selfish and thirsty leaders for growing their wealth ,they didn’t cease to take any treacherous path which led them prosper more and led the poors stay in their poverty. This topic is vast to discuss about and is a sad reality of the day. 

However, history always repeats itself, it is no surprise to support this unobjectionable premise that today’s float of aids for Afghanistan to fight the pandemic could be a sacrifice  in order to increase the wealth of a few vile elites. 

The aids might have been destined to be used  to offset the government budget deficit or to fill in the budget of the state

Afghanistan as one of the periphery countries being dependent on foreign aids and loans always tried to attract more financial support from abroad.  Nevertheless, we witnessed that in the ongoing year of 2020 the US cut its aid to Afghanistan due to its lack of political stability. Not only the US but many other countries and institutions have warned Afghanistan of stopping their support if the current political crisis do not end. Therefore, I put this hypothesis forward because Afghanistan is severely in need of overcoming its budget deficit for the year which was damaged due to aid cut offs from the west. Thus diverting the aids from its main destination to be used for an alternative purpose.

What have been  spent until now to fight covid-19 ( numbers according to records of government officials ) 

From the 6.7 billion afs ($87 million) gathered from the domestic resources, 2.3 billion AFS ($30 million) so far have been transferred to the provinces, according to the Finance Ministry. [8] 

“27 million AFS have been spent so far for awareness campaign” says one Parliament member [8]

“Recently the Afghan government announced that it had created a committee under the chairmanship of First Vice President Amrullah Saleh, and the Afghan government insists that this aid should be spent through the government budget instead of NGOs.” [9]

The government of Afghanistan allotted $ 15 million to the ministry of public health to struggle against the covid-19 . [10]

“The World Health Organization on Monday provided 5,000 testing kits, and 3,000 kits for transferring the samples and that 10,000 kits will be purchased by the government” said Wahidullah Mayar spokesperson to the ministry of health. [11]

The government of Afghanistan  approved buying of 500 new ventilators, as well as $4 million funding for the construction and renovation of COVID-19 facilities. $164 million was spent altogether, which also included testing kits [12]

CONCLUSION: TAKE OR LEAVE IT

I stated the three aforementioned assumptions about the current crisis in fighting the pandemic in the  country while aids are floating in. 

These assumptions can be debatable and you may take all of them, one or two of them , or none of them at all as your further understanding of the topic( foreign aid in Afghanistan). 

May God Bless you all and I pray for you and your families to stay safe and healthy in this current devastating situation. 

Disclaimer: Numerical information is extracted from external websites and everything except the referenced information are from the Author , solely belongs to him.

Mohammad Abid Bahrmi is an Economic Analyst and junior researcher whose main focus is on : Economics, Politics, Philosophy, History and Religion.

1-https://tolonews.com/health/chinas-medical-supply-shipment-arrives-kabul

  2-https://tolonews.com/health/world-bank-approves-100m-aid-afghanistan

3-https://tolonews.com/business/afghan-govt-seeks-more-foreign-aid-fight-covid-19

4-https://tolonews.com/business/afghan-govt-seeks-more-foreign-aid-fight-covid-19

5-https://tolonews.com/health/qatari-foundation-afghan-investors-give-aid-worth-2m-moph

6-https://tolonews.com/health/indian-investor-provides-medical-equipment-afghanistan 

7-https://tolonews.com/health/afghan-govt-assures-transparency-allocating-covid-19-funds

8-https://tolonews.com/business/afghan-govt-seeks-more-foreign-aid-fight-covid-19

9-https://tolonews.com/health/afghan-govt-assures-transparency-allocating-covid-19-funds

10-https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_COVID-19_pandemic_in_Afghanistan

11-https://tolonews.com/health/covid-19-test-kits-urgently-needed-afghanistan

12-https://tolonews.com/health/govt-approves-purchase-500-ventilators-treat-covid-19-arg

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