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United Press International

Aid Groups Worry About Afghan Strategy

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KABUL, Afghanistan -- Claiming that counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan are blurring the lines between military and humanitarian efforts is misguided, U.S. officials said.

International relief groups like Oxfam and CARE International
complain their reputation with the local population would be tarnished
if they were viewed as cooperating with counterinsurgency activities
and provincial reconstruction teams in Afghanistan.

"This is a risk we cannot take and as a result, we have turned down
funding opportunities which require working with the military and
involvement in counterinsurgency," Lex Kassenberg, country director for
CARE International, told the U.N. humanitarian news agency IRIN.

Several non-governmental organizations also complain the United
States and Canada are diverting their aid to Afghanistan through the
military, which they said politicizes much of the aid donations.

William Frej, who heads the Afghan mission for the U.S. Agency for
International Development, said many of their complaints are unfounded,
however.

"Without COIN (counterinsurgency) and without the military's
support, many of the humanitarian agencies -- such as Oxfam -- that
raise such complaints (about militarization of aid) would not be able
to enter the areas once controlled by insurgents," he told IRIN.

 

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