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Should UK aid to Afghanistan be increased?

09:36 UK time, Sunday, 18 July 2010

UK spending on aid projects in Afghanistan will increase by 40% in a bid to hasten the withdrawal of troops from the country. Will this bring stability to the region?

It is believed the money will go towards more policing, emergency food and medicine as well as providing thousands of job and training opportunities. However, this could mean that spending on aid to many other countries will be reviewed.

International development is one of only two government budgets, along with health, set to be protected from far-reaching spending cuts being imposed by the Treasury.

Can increased spending on international aid be justified during the economic crisis? Have the right priorities been made? Should securing progress in Afghanistan be the UK's main priority? Will the proposed measures hasten the withdrawal of British troops?

This debate has now closed. Thank you for your comments.


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  • Comment number 1.

    So now we know why our "new government" wants to tax us with in a inch of starvation....
    To give it all away to some country abroad.
    How very socialist of them, how very foolish of us to vote for them.

  • Comment number 2.

    Anything that involves cutting aid to ungrateful despotic regimes in Africa and elsewhere, gets my vote.

    If it assists in getting our troops home, even more so.

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    Why is it that foreigners get more aid will British people get death by a thousand cuts.

  • Comment number 5.

    It'll be siphoned off by corrupt officials and warlords.

  • Comment number 6.

    It is hard to support this when we are cutting our own cloth to the bone and throwing our own people onto the scrapheap of unemployment. We have been there for ten years and it is clear that great portions of our aid disappears into the pockets of security companies and local pockets while the proposed targets get only a small portion. Ten years and our soldiers still fight over dust and die at a rate which adds new deaths to the six o'clock news every single day.

    The argument sounds great, another plank in the stay there and sort it out point of view. The trouble is that it is our money and our soldiers that support that argument yet in practice the idea fall apart. Great strategies have to be deliverable. Ten years is too long without delivery. Time to end it.

  • Comment number 7.

    Why is it that Middle Eastern, Islamic countries awash with oil money can turn their backs on their 'Islamic Brothers' but we have to pay for them whilst being bombed for being in 'Muslim Lands'?

  • Comment number 8.

    There has to be some ulterior motive here. Serious delving needs to be done to find out who actually stands to gain financially from this move. It will be covered most carefully but I bet there are some Tory names there!

  • Comment number 9.

    Yes - as long as it is used to destroy poppy fields and imprison criminals and corrupt officials.

  • Comment number 10.

    No, financial assistance should be given by countries who haven't sent many troops to Afghanistan.

  • Comment number 11.

    Like all British politicians they think more of foreigners than their own people.


    Because the political classes have nothing but contempt for ordinary people after all at Eton they are just servants.

    No kudos at trendy dinner parties talking about cold and hungry pensioners when all the celebrities are trawling Africa looking for publicity shots talking about aid.

    Its our fault we let disabled and vulnerable people have their benefits cut to so our politicians can line the pockets of corrupt politicians in the third world.

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    Whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad.

  • Comment number 14.

    "The only extra Aid the U.K. should send to "AFGHANISTAN" is all the young men from there!!!! who are living in the U.K. to avoid, going into they Army or Police force. So our {TROOPS} every one of them are brave Heroes', can all come home after doing a great job for years. About time they took over???????

  • Comment number 15.

    How about spending the money on supporting our troops with extra equiptment?

  • Comment number 16.

    Will it solve the Afghan problem- well I don't think so. Seems more a question that since the use of military force isn't working then we have to try something else, without the slightest clue about whether it'll work, but hey, so long as it isn't just military force eh? Better the devil you don't know, they're probably saying. Are there any examples, anywhere, of successfully loving into submission a population that hates you?

    Aid. I can't see any justification for ring-fencing aid when there's so many priorities at home. Frankly if you add to the aid budget the amounts we spend on benefits,housing, education, health etc to immigrants then we are spending simply huge amounts of money on supporting non citizens and we can't or shouldn't afford it. afford it.

    We need to put ourselves first for a while, and use the gap to think a lot more seriously about what the purpose of aid is, and what we need to see in return. My own vote, such as it is, would be to help people and countries that are grateful for it, and not those trying to kill us or stall us at every turn.

  • Comment number 17.

    If I continue to be unable to find employment, and my savings dwindle down to nothing, I therefore expect to have no action taken against any of my possessions, and I expect to be able to continue to live in the house on which I have fully paid up my mortgage - and there's me still paying full-rate council tax - as I live in Greater London I seem to be supporting the Olympic Games and Any Other Deserving Cause which is preferably outside the UK.

    Paying out endless sums of money will not remove the Taliban, and whilst we may withdraw our troops earlier (I am not convinced the troops should have been sent in in the first place, but the problem is, they are there now and clearly cannot just up sticks), I don't see that a more stable country will be left behind. We thought (or some of did) that Northern Ireland was settling down.

  • Comment number 18.

    We are a cash-strapped country. We cannot be the conscience of the world, nor can we afford to subsidise it. The days of Empire are over and nobody in Britain want to return to it. If the British Government thinks that funding every project in Africa and Asia is going to win us friends then it is chasing moonbeams. Let someone else do it.

  • Comment number 19.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 20.

    We should stop ALL foreign aid.

    Our country is in a complete mess. We can't afford it!

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    Personally our family don't have a problem with 'international aid' paid for by tax-payers in the UK. As individuals we also contribute, like millions of others in the UK, to mainstream charities in the UK, working in UK, and globally.

    However, there has been disturbing news that UK tax-payer financial aid to Afghanistan has been 'diverted' by corrupt officials - as is often, tragically, the case in Africa?

    Apparently, the UK government aid to Afghanistan will be increased - but will this financial input be ethically and professionally monitored by UK government officials to ensure that it reaches the ground to improve power supplies, clean water and sustainable employment and 'genuine' business for 'ordinary' people in Afghanistan?

    Ethical and experienced mainstream UK charities are more effective at delivering financial and practical aid. Would suggest that charities take control of UK government tax-payer financial aid to ensure maximum delivery with liaison with British companies and British military who have ground experience and knowledge to assist best use for genuine Afghans today and in the future? Just a thought?

    Also note on the BBC site, that America will be reducing it's financial aid by almost equal measure? Has there been a deal?

  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 24.

    More of our money to foreigners while they cut education, health and policing. I didn't vote for this government and its acting like all the rest.
    Charity begins at home

  • Comment number 25.

    Can increased spending on international aid be justified during the economic crisis? Have the right priorities been made? Should securing progress in Afghanistan be the UK's main priority? Will the proposed measures hasten the withdrawal of British troops?
    No, no, no and no.

  • Comment number 26.

    No! lets help ourselves before others, we're going to need it!

  • Comment number 27.

    I will only agree to the increase amount of 40% if the goverment first look to British industry to purchase the aid equipment from. Use the money to buy British Goods and services to give as aid - rather than giving the money to regional areas that siphon it off for uncharitable methods.

  • Comment number 28.

    Now the government are telling us, that we cannot afford new schools, doctor’s surgeries, and we must all tighten our belts. However we are going to give your taxes to rebuild Afghanistan, not only will we spend what the last lot spent we will spend forty per cent more. I feel this is a waste of our tax money..
    The government seem very happy to let people lose their jobs and suffer in the UK, as they can blame it on the Labour Government, while trying to play the statement’s role round the world with our tax money.
    The policy of we must fight in Afghanistan to keep the streets of Britain safe from terror, is a very weak argument and reminds me of the arguments made by American governments for fighting in Viet Nam. Their case was if we don’t fight the communist in Viet Nam, we will be fighting them on the banks of the Potomac River. After too many deaths, America, withdrew, (lost) in Viet Nam, and communism slowly turns to Capitalism in Viet Nam.
    I also agree with comments, NO’s: 1, 5, 6, 7, and 9. Or at least I would have liked to be able too....

  • Comment number 29.

    "Should UK aid to Aghanistan be increased?" that depends how much of the monies is then hidden in private bank accounts in the Gulf states.

  • Comment number 30.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 31.'s just throwing good money after bad.

    Why do we continue to give aid to a country whose people are quite happy to kill and maim our soldiers?

    In fact, in times of financial austerity in Britain where we are all being asked to tighten our belts, why are we giving money to other countries at all?

  • Comment number 32.

    We should stay and win the war. As it stands we appear to be wanting to get out asap. Therefore we are being defeated...

  • Comment number 33.

    In principle, well-off 'first world' countries should give aid to developing countries which help them to help themselves and this should still continue even during recession. It is a moral obligation in my view.

    This aid can take any form - money, expertise, technology, education - and it should be provided on a case by case basis. It should not be primarily for the donor's political or economic interests, but inevitably, the global political environment will always have some impact.

    I would like to see all such sid being supervised and audited by the world bank, WHO, UNESCO, for appropriateness and outcome, so that a minimum proportion of the aid goes on administration and the maximum proportion gets down to the people in need.

    Regarding Afghanistan, it is hard to see how pouring more money into this country will help anyone except those in government who siphon off aid funds for their own benefit. It is universally recognised as being one of the most corrupt on this planet, so until this is rectified (dont hold your breath) it would be pointless to give more.

    It is also extremely difficult to sort out how to give aid with one hand and wage war with the other, especially when other countries to whom we give aid are actively involved in funding and supporting those groups who are killing our troops.

    This is a highly complex multi-dimensional chess game which will take decades to play out.

    Applying the KISS principle, lets just focus as much political and diplomatic pressure on the Afghan government to sort out its corruption issues and dangle the carrot of more aid when these is clear evidence that they are doing so.

  • Comment number 34.

    NO ! we should give no money to other countries at all. That money is UK tax payers money and should be spent in the UK for the benefit of those tax payers.

    As for the troops in Afghanistan just pull them out. Afghanistan can sort out its own problems or descend into chaos. Either way its not our problem.

  • Comment number 35.

    No if it is not going to destroy the poppy fields which are funding the talaban.While those fields are there the talaban have got a hold over the population.Why are we supporting fit young men from that country who are avoiding fighting for thier country when our young lads are being killed.If the afghans want freedom then all there young should be fighting for it not hiding in this country.Never get someone else to fight for you unless you are willing to stand side by side with them fighting too.If you don't then you deserve no respect.

  • Comment number 36.

    Increasing our aid to Afghanistan, to £800 million over five years, may sound an enormous sum of money, but compare it to the three-year £2,900 million cost of widening 51 miles of the M6, and the figure falls into a more realistic perspective.
    To all you religious ranters out there, I give you Corinthians 1 Chapter 13 Verse 13: "And now abideth faith, hope, and charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity".

  • Comment number 37.

    The western world don't know anything about Afghanistan. They are born to fight and resist all enemies. Soviet Union once tried to control the country but failed miserably. How do we think we can control it? The best solution is to take the loses and just leave. Let the people figure out their future. Sending more aid is just wasting money - it's better to spend it on fixing our economy and create more jobs.

  • Comment number 38.

    My personal views wouldn't get past the BBC moderators

  • Comment number 39.

    If we're going to continue giving away 'Aid' to 'needy' places, we might as well give it where it also benefits us.

    Infrastructural-Aid to afghanistan has been quite minimal in the spending-scheme of things there. If we raise the Aid to Afghanistan, at least it would raise the hopes of the people, and perhaps give them an incentive to strive for a more promising future, and see that it could be a lot better without the Taliban & Co.

    On the other hand, it certainly IS time that ANY UK 'Aid' money ANYWHERE, is fully monitored and scheduled to specific Projects. The UK should have it's own 'hands-on' UK-born 'Managers' in Aid-recipient Countries to ensure this happens. These 'Managers' should be DIRECTLY responsible to the UK Goverment - NOT the Governments in those Aid-recipient Countries. If this is not acceptable to them, Aid should be stopped.

    ALL present Aid-recipient Countries that the UK helps should be RE-assessed, and Aid cut where there has been corruption by those recipient Governments.
    It's time the UK 'targetted' it's 'Aid' with a view to a 'return' on such investment - via Minerals or anything else that could be useful to us. We can NO longer continue giving these 'handouts' willy-nilly - and getting LESS than nothing in return.

    Our People will quite-rightly, not accept this in a recession...

  • Comment number 40.

    35. At 11:23am on 18 Jul 2010, donut 54 wrote:
    No if it is not going to destroy the poppy fields which are funding the talaban.While those fields are there the talaban have got a hold over the population.

    Why destroy the poppy foelds, there is a world shortage of morphine?.Not much else grows over there. Why shouldn't the Afghans grow them and get the best price, without asking too many questions?. So they are sold on to the illegal drugs market the US produces tobacco, which isn't exactly good for us, and no one complains. Why blame the Afghans, if any one over here is stupid enough to get hooked on drugs that's their fault, they have a choice no one forces them to start the habit. They know the consequences

  • Comment number 41.

    We face the prospect of devastating cuts and mass unemployment. The country is up to its eyes in debt. At this moment in time and for the forseeable future we can no longer afford to be a major player in world politics. Global concerns are outwith our financial capabilities and our priority must under the present circumstances start at home.

  • Comment number 42.

    It will bring nothing to the region, until the political fiasco is sorted out.
    But sorting this out requires brains and will, far beyond anything the UK and perhaps the world have to offer.

  • Comment number 43.

    According to the figures given,aid over 4 years will increase from £500 to £700 over the next few years. That is from about £8 per UK family of four per year to about £12 pa.
    The total costs of the war are much higher, nearer £100 per year per person.
    So it would be more cost effective to end the war than to end aid.
    Just to comment on what happens to cash in Afghanistan, the Telegraph printed a story in June that £2b was openly flown out of Kabul airport to Dubai. Personally, I believe that all aid should be individually given to each person equally. One does wonder which hands the aid finds itself into both into and outside Afghanistan.

  • Comment number 44.

    All foreign aid should be stopped, given the current financial mess we're in. Furthermore . we should stop taking in bogus asylum-seekers from Afghanistan.

  • Comment number 45.

    Once again this has echo's of the Vietnam war's "Hearts & Minds" program.

    That failed ultimately,& so will this one,we're even hearing politicians speaking of "peace with honour."

    The solution's the same however.

    Set a date for withdrawal & get out.

    Preferably sometime soon??

  • Comment number 46.

    Chirojupiter we can win. But it wont take cruise missiles. We need more troops, a policy of fighting as the enemy do ie dirty, and the political will to win at whatever cost.

  • Comment number 47.

    Does it matter what is said here. The government won't listen. I lost faith in the system when a point was raised on Question Time about why we are there in the first place and the chair didn't let that question be answered.

  • Comment number 48.

    "Should UK aid to Aghanistan be increased?"

    Afghanistan? Absolutely not.

    If fact while we are so in debt (thanks Labour) ALL foreign aid should be cut. We'll get out of debt quicker and then we can assist again.

  • Comment number 49.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 50.

    Having lived in The Middle Eastern patch since 1977 and having a good understanding of the mindset, the whole episode is now about timing the exit to reduce loss of face for the West. The Taliban will just wait patiently, making life as difficult as possible in the meantime.

    The Afghan forces will be full of Taliban and Taliban sympathisers who will simply re-take power (and all the aid money) when Western troops pull out in a year or so. The Taliban will then be back to where they were pre-invasion within a month or two. Terrible I know, but that's what will happen.

  • Comment number 51.

    No - we should give nothing to Afghanistan. Get our troops out of there - and keep all aid money for the people of Britain.

  • Comment number 52.

    No, why should people in the UK suffer from these drastic cuts yet give foreign aid.

    It's time to call a General Election.

  • Comment number 53.

    Absolutely. The Taliban need every penny they can get.

  • Comment number 54.

    The aid going to India which hass nucluer weapons and a space program should be diverted to Afganistan. NO extra money on foreign aid, we are 4 (FOUR) TRILLION in debt (ONS this week, not much reporting of this hey BBC? Wonder why....). The Ponzi type scheme of the last La La Labour 'government' would see them in court if it were a private company. We are going to have to get REAL in this country, no more CBebbies economics, no more Magic Money Trees of Brown and his incompetants, just REALITY.

  • Comment number 55.

    Why don't their Muslim brothers from oil rich countries show their altruism towards Afghanistan, first. Or is that asking too much?

  • Comment number 56.

    Hold on a sec, now as I see it your asking us not only to send our armed forces to fight and die amongst a nation that has nothing but contempt for us you want us to send more money to them but you dont,for example, want to build or improve our childrens schools. Now dont get me wrong Minister but I was always told charity starts at home, in this case Britain however I will try my hardest to work more hours than I do now spend less on my family (very little as it happens) and hope I dont become unemployed and lose my house. You will of course understand my reluctance to share in the jubilation of this annoucement.

    On a more postive note I would like to say how very grateful and how proud I am of our armed forces including the other nations that have service personnel there.

  • Comment number 57.

    It would seem that Mr Cameron is as two faced as the previous Prime Minister. All the talk of consulting the nation and that he is going to allow the people of Britain have a greater role in governing, is as real and true as a pig flying. Just look at the way he and his coalition have seized the opportunity to hit the pensioners and low paid families, yet he and his government is going to increase aid to a country that is killing our soldiers and given refuge to terrorists. Why does he not put this to the country in form of an online referendum and see if the majority of the British people agree with his point of view. It really makes me want to kick someone when I am told by the coalition government that we all have to tighten our belts and face hardships for at least the next three to four years, and then we are told that our taxes is going to fund a defunct state that is ripe with corruption and poppy growers. Why is it that we in Britain have to suffer whilst the Afghan benefit from our hardship. Does Mr Cameron not know that charity begins at home. Just touching on just another point, the Burka, why has Damian Green taken it upon himself to decide on not banning the burka, when polls have shown that a large majority of the electorate are in favour of the ban. Surely, the decision of ban or not to ban the burka should be put to a referendum, because I was told repeatedly by the Tories during their election campaign that they want to share the responsibilty of government with the people and to have an open and fair debate on matters that concerns the people of Britain. Yet here we are only a few short months after the election and the coalition government are behaving very similar to the previous administration that was led by labour. I should like to remind Mr Cameron and his bunch of two faced individuals that it took them 13 years to be elected to government, so keep up this two faced policy and attitude and it will another 13 years before the tories are elected again.

  • Comment number 58.

    No Way ! We should be cutting all donations to all countries. I did not realise that we actually give money to 90 countrys. The whold world must be laughing at us and saying " The Brits are about to go under so how come they are still giving money away ?" I OBJECT strongly to any of my money being sent abroad to pay for other countrys and how dare this government carry on doing it in the full knowledge that we do not want our money spent in this way. Charity begins at home it might sound harsh but we are you hear us Cameron WE ARE SKINT ! What I want to know is do any countrys give any money to us ! Or would they even if we did go under !

  • Comment number 59.

    Aid should NOT be increased. It will do no good. Neither will our continued military presence - we should get out as quickly as a dignified exit will allow. Is it only the government that can't see this? Don't they realise that the Taliban will take over again as soon as we leave, that the Afghan army is untrustworthy, that the lessons of history tell us we're wasting lives in this miserable place?
    Even if we could make it more difficult for terrorists to operate there, they can move to Somalia, Yemen, Sudan or other such places. Military operations in foreign countries will never stop UK terror attacks - better surveillance and security measures here would be more effective and cost fewer lives.

  • Comment number 60.


    With systemic government corruption, a multiplicity of mutually exclusive ethnic groupings practicing endless blood feuds, plus a fundamental economic reliance on the production of drugs, is not an environment that seems open to western views and ideals of organising a peaceful civil society.

    Can it even be said that there is a realistic possibility of building a unified Afghan identitiy, that can be moulded and developed, from the ashes of previous attempts to govern this wild and isolated region? The concept of the nation state is a western confection, and attempts to impose this model across the world, especially in post-colonial regions, has often proved fruitless - Yemen being just one example.

    Accept that the world, both in the repsonse of the UN, and that of individual nations outside the USA, Canada and the UK, don't really accept the idea that Afghanistan must be saved from itself to prevent the spread of a terrorist contagion. If they did, there would be no need for the continual demand of more troops on the ground.

    Far better to employ economic measures to bring Afghanistan into the world family. Why not offer to buy all the output from the poppy growers, and remove the flow of funds to terrorists groups and local warlords. Having got their attention, employ non-invasive economic incentives to modify what is grown and sold, and leave the Afghans to their centuries old ways of self-government.

  • Comment number 61.

    Withdraw the Troops Now!

    That will Save Money that the Afghans can use for non-military projects, plus we will save Afghan and British lives.

    The Afghan Warlords will then fight among themselves to a stalemate without foreign inteference. Ensure Pakistan's Intelligence Service (ISI) through Aid and Diplomatic pressure is stopped from supporting Taliban in Afghanistan.

  • Comment number 62.

    Will the proposed measures hasten the withdrawal of British troops?

    Whatever happens, when UK and USA troops leave Afganistan, Afganistan will still be in a mess, innocent people will still be blown up, murdered, tortured.

    When foreign troops leave, the Afgan military will start running around and being much much more severe than our troops. They will often just shoot at whoever resulting in a huge increase of innocent casualtys.

    AS it is, the ONLY thing that is stopping the Afgan army from basically going berserk now, is the presence of foreign troops who hold them back.

    The discipline in the Afgan army and police is overal attrocious.

    I think that the plain reality is that gradually the Afgan army/police and also Iraq police/military will enevitably act more and more as Saddam acted.

    Saddams main weapon was fear, you were made to fear Saddam and his regime and what it could and would do to your family and even distant relatives, more than any fear for others.

    Already, a number of those who the USA built community/safety/security bridges with in Iraq, are now being targetted by the Iraqi government.

    WEstern liberalist/humanitarian organisations are bound to start making serious allegations of cruelty and inhumane behaviour against Iraq and Afgan governments.

    I believe and think many terrible things will happen, but I also believe and think that the only way to stop most of these terrorist bomb attacks which kill/maime dozens/hundreds at a time, is to act very heavy handed and create a price, beyond paying, even for terrorists.

    The world is a harsh place, and our species are capable of terrible terrible things. Peace and stability will not come in these areas by being nice and gentle and humane.
    I think greater peace can and only will emerge when literally, the fight has been knocked out of all those who terrorise.

    Basically, I think the Afgan & Iraqi states/governments will act more and more with impunity hence act more and more like terrorists themselves.

    With the west/USA holding the purse strings to theses governments, much is dependant on how western public perceive events/violence. But until these governments are able to act just as most middle east/arab/muslim countrys act against internal attacks, then the terrorist and insurgence violence will continue on huge scales.

    I do not think either of these places will be pretty pictures over the coming decade. Neither government can afford continuous drip drip attacks on it and its resources, its energy supply or water supply and sewerage systems, as well as economic resources, hence ultimately I think we will hear of attrocity carried out by these governments or whoever is in government.

    If you look what has happened in Chetnya, how the governing forces have acted, I think the same/very similar is a realistic reality for Afganistan and Iraq, also maybe same/similar as the events in Sri Lanka and the total defeat of the whole Tamil community, whereby its very continued existance is still under very severe threat by continued high poverty and starvation and in which we are not constantly fed images of the attrocious reality there for many many Tamil people

    It is very similar to Vikings or Romans or many historical behaviours, which is to overwhelmingly destroy an opponents capability to attack, harm, hinder for a considerable amount of time.

    A growing reality is a massive surge towards remote technology which removes USA/UK western soldiers from the battle and use remote controlled weapons systems, controlled by those thousands of miles away.

    This is mainly and basically to remove our forces casualty numbers from the equation, which our publics do not like.

    The casualtys of others will still happen, but this is more easily stomached/accepted by the west, just as long as our own body bag count goes down.

    I think a further reality is that these types of wars will further distance/remove western public from reality, just as so many in the west are imune and ignorant of the reality of the processes of providing the food on their tables and not understanding the harshness of reality of the creatures or those who work hard to prepare them, for such a palty financial pitance.
    At the end of the day, because the cost to our societys is minimised, such is much greater accepted/acceptable, whether low cost chicken nuggets or substantially reduced/low number of lives lost in wars.

    Apparantly, humanity has progressed substantially over the past 2000 years!!!!

  • Comment number 63.

    Pouring money into Afghanistan will in the short term help some people in that country. But the long term problems will, in my view, emerge again as that is a cultural norm for that region. Culture cannot be changed overnight; it will probably take hundreds of years for this thing to settle down. Even then it will be woven into the myth and fabric of people forever.
    The biggest problem currently is the forces of occupation are supplying all the trade and when they go so too does the way of life supported by all that money. So its in many people’s best interest to keep the war going. This is a sad yet unacknowledged fact not discussed. Wonder why?

  • Comment number 64.

    British 'Foreign Aid' is a euphemism for gifts of money from our government to despotic foreign governments who then spend the money on buying weapons from British defence contractors.

    So the money would be given to the Mayor of Khabul who'd then siphon off a percentage and spend the rest of weapons. Little, if any, of the money would filter down to the average Afghani.

    I fail to see how this would make Afghanistan more stable.

  • Comment number 65.

    Before the last General Election, the Elephant in the room, that Nulab chose to ignore was Immigration. Nulab paid the price by being kicked out of government.
    The present Elephant in the room is foreign aid which most people think should be reduced during the present economic climate.
    Can the UK afford the 10.2 Billion pounds of OUR money given away each year to sometimes corrupt regimes abroad ?
    I think that the present Government should look at what the majority of the electorate think about this subject, otherwise they will find themselves being booted out at the next election.
    Look after the UK population first, They are the ones supplying the money you are so freely giving away.

  • Comment number 66.

    Afghanistan enjoys excellent poppy revenues. The UK does not have money for foreign aid. NATO should leave Afghanistan. They often attack and kill peaceful villagers, not heinous terrorists. This humanitarianism is the mask of a cruel military occupation.

  • Comment number 67.

    This is not extra money for aid to Afghanistan, it is money that would have been spent on less important foreign aid. Does no one ever read before commenting?

    Already Afghan farmers are starting to grow wheat instead of the opium poppy. Destroying the poppy fields would be rather short sighted owing to there being a world shortage of it's derivatives for use in medicine.

    Considering how much money was wantonly squandered by the last government which we are all now paying for, the amount per head is chicken feed.

    Troops on the ground are positive about what they are achieving and if their efforts are supported by assisting the Afghan peoples, hopefully it will lead to a stable country and a withdrawal of troops.

  • Comment number 68.

    Why don't they increase the aid to the young British lads and their families who are fighting and dying in that pointless country.

  • Comment number 69.

    Definitely not! They have our armed forces there trying to help them and at the moment the people in this country are facing the most horrendous cuts ever. If there is more money available for Afghanistan give it to our armed forces in better equipment and extra pay as they are risking their lives every day.

  • Comment number 70.

    The government has already committed £500m on projects in Afghanistan over the next five years.

    Reality, Afganistan costs UK £billions each year. The sooner our military leaves the LESS money we taxpayers pay. Hence this extra £500million means our military leaves earlier, hence we save MORE money than otherwise if our military remained for longer.

  • Comment number 71.

    NO, NO, NO it should certainly not. This country should put a hold on ALL aid to ALL countries until our economic problems are resolved. Then a committee of public opinion should be set up to give aid to appropriate and verifiable cases. The current situation has no support with the electorate.

  • Comment number 72.

    "More policing" in Afghanistan? We've been there 9 years, and I recently saw figures for the number of police officers being turned out by UK-sponsored training courses which, if extrapolated, seemed to indicate that we should have produced over 100,000 of them - surely enough to impose security. So where are they all, and what are they doing? Then we had the ludicrous article last week on the MOD website about "training female Afghan police officers to work as equals alongside their male counterparts", illustrated by a shot of three women (presumably) in burkas. One of the supposed policewomen had a pistol, which she was awkwardly cradling in both hands as if it was a poisonous snake ("Firearms training during the summer was really testing but many of them turned out to be real crack-shots." Yeah, right.).

    This is a farce. There is no prospect of military victory in Afghanistan. The Americans will cut their losses and leave well before 2015. Whatever Cameron says, we're only there as their henchmen and we'll have no choice but to leave when they do. The Karzai 'government' will probably disintegrate even before we're gone, as its members bail out of Afghanistan to save their own skins. Pumping money in will achieve nothing at all: this is just our contemptible politicians trying to avoid admitting that it's all been an unmitigated, pointless disaster which has only made the situation worse by destabilising Pakistan and further radicalising a minority of young British Moslems.

  • Comment number 73.

    So, after all the blood and treasure which has already been poured away in Afghanistan, even more of the the British taxpayers' money is to be spent trying to hide the truth that the whole operation has been disaster, as was predicted by virtually everyone who knew anything about Afghanistan.

    The troops should just pack up and go as soon as possible. A period of Taliban rule is probably the better option for the people of Afghanistan, at least they might put an end to the corrupt medieval style warlordism, which is the curse of that country.

    As usual, our leaders, from all parties, apart from a very few honourable exceptions, are, unlike the troops who suffer the results of their stupidity, too cowardly to admit that they made a ghastly mistake.

  • Comment number 74.

    There isn't any point, whilst the government there is so corrupt. I don't want to give them my money. No more gravy trains! If it were ACTUALLY spent on infrastructure, education electricty, water and health I'd say yes, but we all know that an Afghan politician is either a Warlord in a suit or irredemably corrupt, so why bother? We have seen this and we know it - the only hope is for the Afghan people to save themselves from themselves. I wish it wasn't that way, but the west is not a bottomless pit of money any more than it is a consistent and benevolant influence on other cultures.

    Everyone, even the Taliban, has lost here. They don't think they have because they believe that by defeating the west they can win, but they can't. What's the good of being in charge of a pariah state? That's about as much of a 'win' as being the sort of man who rules his family with fear and violence. They will lose everything in the end - and I'm afraid that they will take the Afghan people with them.

    The problem is that we are increasingly seeing right wing politics in the west - the kind of polictics that would bomb Afghanistan into dust instead of trying to fight an attritional war against insurgents. I hate this idea, but I believe that western patience is reaching a tipping point. I hope never to see it, but I think it's going to happen.

    The cultures are different, and increasingly anathema to each other.

  • Comment number 75.

    Just shows what a mess Brown and Blair left us in. Now the only way out is to provide the Afghans with loads of money in the vain hope that it will be used for the intended purpose. It will be a complete an utter waste with the money ending up in the pockets of a few. We should learn the lessons of Africa and stop foreign aid now. And why are we still giving money to India when they themselves are giving money away in aid to other coutries? This whole thing smells of corruption to the core and should be stopped now.

  • Comment number 76.

    No! As always it will go to the wrong people. Anyway I cannot see why intenational aid is ring-fenced when we are in so much trouble here. Get rid of international aid, get rid of our contributions to the EU get rid of Trident, make people here take the jobs that have to go to foreigners because no-one will do them and we would make a big difference to our own finances. I would prefer the money to go to the truely disabled (not the ones with bad backs that can still play golf). Is anyone in Government listening? No probably not they only listen to what they want to hear.

  • Comment number 77.

    the socalled Aid should be spent on better equipment for our Troops and anything left over should be used to repair the schools in UK. It is shameful to see the state of disrepair in our schools and to think our children are suffering because of it. We need better control of our borders. Throwing more money into this region wont stop the drug lords. This country reminds me of the Wild West. How was that won>?

  • Comment number 78.

    Thanks to Labour's prudent economic policy, "Our" nation is in so much debt that we are on the verge of going bankrupt. In response to this mess, the new Government have quite rightly decided to cut the waste in the public sector and have also decided to increase taxes paid by the already hard up working person, in order to reduce the staggering budget deficit. Yet, *this* Government can afford to give billions each year in foreign aid, much of which is wasted and does not benefit the peoples' is should do. We give foreign aid to countries like China & India, who have impressive, advanced and very costly space programs far better than the we could manager; they also have advanced (and again costly) nuclear weapons programs, each with first strike capability.

    As for Afghanistan, which is still a corrupt and worthless country, any aid would be wasted. In any case, this is a problem for the UN, IMF and other world bodies.

    Britain is broke and charity is required at home, here, in this country.

  • Comment number 79.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 80.

    2. At 10:02am on 18 Jul 2010, David Horton wrote:

    Totally agree.

  • Comment number 81.

    Nobody can give a reason why we are there. Pullout altogether we can no longer afford to support the world. Cut all foreign aid as the countries we send aid too have far more money and resourses than we have.
    Any money given to an Isamic country or africa only gets spent on guns bombs and anti west propoganda

  • Comment number 82.

    Forgive the analogy but.....

    I've bought a new car in the past. Now the car's done 100,000 I'm starting to make decisions about whether the things that start going wrong are financially viable to fix. New tyres and brakes are a necessity but do I need to fix the broken aircon? Is it important that the CD Multi-changer no longer functions? The carpets are coming away at the edges and the buttons on the doors to lock it don't work. The engine's had better days too.

    Afghanistan was purchased second hand and had already done 95k when bought sight-unseen. Since then we've put some insulation tape around the broken aircon pipe (it wont make it work but it cost £10m and was worth a try) and we've replaced the CD Changer. The door handles have been purchased but they're sitting in the shed as we need a special screwdriver to fit them and the carpet's been super-glued. The fact the engine's almost knackered isn't featuring in our thoughts.

    Now we're booking it in for a respray!

    How long do we keep chucking money at this problem before we realise it's not actually making any difference? Stop this madness NOW!

  • Comment number 83.

    I can't believe the Tories and the Liberals are making such a mess of being in power. They make us accept cuts in education, benefits and the NHS so they can give our money away to another country who will probably use it to buy weapons. How often in the past 30 years has so-called financial aid ended up in the hands of terrorists ? This is just more financial waste. We need to keep this money and spend it on the NHS !

  • Comment number 84.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 85.

    Charity starts at home. Unless Britain is in absolutely perfect shape without any money needing to be spent on itself then you can think about spending on other countries. Until then, no.

  • Comment number 86.

    Why do we wish to spill our hard money taxed from us that is supposed to be used to make things better in our country and see it go to a corrupt government lead by a corrupt leader in Afghanistan...
    Have we gone so much into the red by different governments led by different prime ministers...some of whom believe that their way is the only way forward to bring our country back into the black and yet they still do this after so many of our troops have been slaughtered and for what...yet another meaningless war...will our leaders ever learn something...obviously not yet!

  • Comment number 87.

    We should have known this would happen. The last time the Tories were in power Thatcher was best friends with warlords and torturers like General Pinochet ! Didn't she defend him when he was finally arrested ? Disgusting. Cameron is just the same. This money will be "stolen" by terrorists and corrupt officials and our government won't tell us about it until 10 years later. We already know it's going to happen - the government think we're stupid. So while our taxes line the pockets of these foreign crime bosses and corrupt officials our own people are freezing to death in their homes IF they have a home ! Typical Tory screwed up view of the world.

  • Comment number 88.

    Given that the counbtry is in such dire financial straits, due to the criminal activities of banks and the criminal negligence of the last government, why are we providing financial aid to foreign countries. Surely we need to sort our own house out first before we provide any kind of support abroad. It is time that British politicains realised that their sole responsibility is to the British people. Our forefathers would be disgusted at how we have neglected our own.

  • Comment number 89.

    It's been announced on the news that the troops are out of Afghanistan by 2014. No ifs, no buts, we are gone. Thats four years away. So that is why we are increasing the aid.
    The big question is will we have certainly have won whatever it is we are fighting for by then? how can we justify any more people being killed and injured in the mean time if we do not see a victory? They will be lives spent to achieve nothing.

  • Comment number 90.

    7. At 10:14am on 18 Jul 2010, Meerkat wrote:
    Why is it that Middle Eastern, Islamic countries awash with oil money can turn their backs on their 'Islamic Brothers' but we have to pay for them whilst being bombed for being in 'Muslim Lands'?

    This statement is so true, But the Islamic oil rich middle eastern countries don’t give any AID because is suit's the Islamic political agenda to keep these people poor, the same can be said the Palestinians. If they are poor then people have sympathy.

    Secondly Why were we giving AID to China the world biggest economy in the first place?
    Thirdly, charity begins at home first. I elected my government to be fair to look after my country not everyone else's

  • Comment number 91.

    81. At 12:58pm on 18 Jul 2010, Rulechangecrazy wrote:

    Nobody can give a reason why we are there.

    America deemed the Taliban responsible for the 9/11 attacks because they were harbouring Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda were using the country as a base of operation ans safe haven. The Taliban refused to cooperate and hand over Bin Laden, so America asked her NATA allies to assist because "an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all". Also, unlike the Iraq war, the actions in Afghanistan have the backing of the UN, hence why there are token forces from other, non NATA countries serving in Afghanistan.

  • Comment number 92.

    83. At 1:00pm on 18 Jul 2010, Icebloo wrote:

    I can't believe the Tories and the Liberals are making such a mess of being in power. They make us accept cuts in education, benefits and the NHS
    That's good thing. Waste, waste, waste under Labour.

  • Comment number 93.

    So let me get this right: we're increasing aid to Afghanistan just as the USA is reducing it's contribution by $4bn - and at a time when UK public services are on the brink of between 25-40% cuts, including the Armed Forces! I voted for Cameron in the recent General election - but now I'm really starting to question whether I did the right thing?

  • Comment number 94.

    I agree with ALL the previous posts, that NO OVERSEAS AID should be spent from the proceeds of BRITISH taxpayes to give away to foreign parts.
    There has been 13years of coddling those tyrants abroad who were good at genocide of their own people, but better at persuading our stupid politicians tp part with millions of OUR money.
    Take Zimbabwe: No history lesson needed there, but if labour could authorise troops to strike in Africa ai SL, they could have done the same to Zimbabwe and got worldwide praise.
    Yet another mistake in Afghanistan.
    Rather than blanket aid which goes into rich pockets and ends up in Zurich to gain interest, why not do something specific which may influence local opinion in Afghanistan better and locally?
    Channel 4 News did a spot on an Afghan family who had been dispossesed of their home by the previous, (presumably Taliban) regime.
    A family of 10 or 12 were living in a two bed, damaged apartment, with few facilities.
    Is it without the wit of the politicians to locate people like this, and BUILD THEM A BIGGER HOUSE????
    Locally, if (for instance) Taylor Woodrow or Wimpey were to donate homes to selected Afghan families, INDEPENDENTLY of the "Authorities", imaging the impact on local (poor) people.
    Imagine if local people saw the new houses, built for those in the worst overcrowding, built with all mod cons, and compared that to what the Taliban, or for that matter the present Afghan govt. had so far done for them.
    Perhaps direct action like this could be worth more politically than just handing over £Millions to a demonstrably corrupt regime???

  • Comment number 95.

    One cannot destroy and develop. One cannot build a palace on the ruins of another. This amount to fanning the embers of hatred among the natives of Afghanistan and may only destablise the situation further.

  • Comment number 96.

    Another kick in the teeth for us hard working brits,our hard earned pensions which i paid for are frozen,and the government give it away to corrupt regeims.Get out of Afghanistan now and start looking after your own people.Our brave soldiers should be home not getting killed or seriously injured almost daily and what for?.

  • Comment number 97.

    No! We should not be in Afghanistan, nor Iraq, and certainly not providing them with aid, especially when UK citizens will be experiencing a long period of austerity & hardship as a result of, 'death by a hundred cuts', inflicted by the CONLIB government. It's time we put the UK first and stopped aiding other countries.
    How many people are now regretting the way they voted on the 6th May? I know I am. The voting public was duped by Cameron & Clegg and now they have office they are introducing cuts that they said they would not do and cuts/measures that were not in their respective manifesto's. Oh, how I pray we have another election before the year's out.

  • Comment number 98.

    And I thought charity began at home.

  • Comment number 99.

    How can this Government even think of sending ANY money to Afghanistan when the ungrateful citizens are MURDERING our soldiers with our own money, I did wonder how they funded this war, now I know.

    The British Tax Payer !!

    I can hardly believe it, when we have had benefits and services cuts. Unless, Blair and Brown has locked the UK into an agreement that we know nothing about.

    So please, new ConLib government STOP all the money to ALL overseas countries, in your own words we are a bankrupt country owing billions to other countries, thanks to Labour mis-management. Where are you going to get this 40% extra from and I would like to know what the 100% is in real £s.

    Leave the USA to fund this war that they started through their greed for cheap fuel AND pull out of this war and use they 140% to help the wounded soldiers and their families and pay back some 100 billion £s we owe.

    The USA is only 'a fair weather friend' - they only want us when we are useful to them 'Afghanistan'. No doubt, they will financially crucify us over the BP oil leak even though it was a USA firm who accessed the risks and yet again America got it wrong but is looking towards us for compensation. We as a country need to harden up and start to 'charge' America for all the expense we as a nation has paid out, this is fair as they 'billed' us for their so called help for WW 1&2

    NO money to Afghanistan or any where else. 'Look after them who are looking after us' which is NO-ONE. Charity begins at home.

  • Comment number 100.

    71. At 12:39pm on 18 Jul 2010, PeterTigerman wrote:
    NO, NO, NO it should certainly not. This country should put a hold on ALL aid to ALL countries until our economic problems are resolved. Then a committee of public opinion should be set up to give aid to appropriate and verifiable cases. The current situation has no support with the electorate.


    So, you have a plan to change the behaviour of criminals and benefits scroungers.

    Police, courts and prison cost UK taxpayers around £19 billion per year, then there is the costs/losses to businesses/economy of further £BILLIONS, then there are further costs to taxpayers of medical treatment of victims, long term mental problems of victims at more cost, victims compensation scheme, then £billions of losses to property/goods costs of criminal damage etc, costs of maintaining victims on benefits who are unable to work or go out, or even have much of a life.

    Costs of crime in UK is possibly over £30billion add to it benefits cheats/scroungers ( I do NOT mean GENUINE needy) then the costs are nearer £35 BILLION.

    If we had a 3 and you're out crime and justice policy then we could save £billions it could even pay for all the expenses in Afganistan, military and aid.

    One small point where the savings would come from, my 3 and you're out crime and justice policy relates to 3rd time, you're thrown in the sea a minimum of 20 miles from shore.

    I think tho, that such a policy would probably result in a huge uptake in use of swimming pools, and ultimately make them more profitable and also receive less local council subsidy. A win win situation!!!!


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