Hampered by an increasingly hostile work environment and a bureaucratic culture that discouraged innovation, Canada’s aid blitz in Afghanistan seemed at times “divorced from reality” in the war-ravaged country, concludes a previously secret review of the $1.5-billion program.
It and other audits of the Canadian International Development Agency’s huge involvement in Kandahar and elsewhere in Afghanistan depict a well-meaning drive for results the government could boast about — a push that faced “intractable” security problems, political pressures and the “vaguely envisaged” challenge of building a new nation.
The reports drafted for CIDA by two outside consultants seem written to avoid offending federal officials, and do actually praise many of the agency’s achievements. But the diplomatic phrasing cannot hide fundamental concerns about Canada’s ambitious development program as it unfolded.
Nipa Banerjee, who headed the agency’s Afghanistan operation from 2003 to 2006, said some of the comments reflect what she knows…
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