Since Kabul fell without a fight two months ago, there’s been no shortage of critiques of what the U.S. accomplished militarily in Afghanistan. But billions of dollars in economic aid also gushed into that country for two decades from the United States, along with support from U.S. allies and international institutions like the World Bank.

The record for that nonmilitary assistance, which has drawn less attention in the media, is similarly grim, writes Mohammad Qadam Shah, a scholar of global development who’s originally from Afghanistan. While researching the country’s aid administration, he found it rife with “mismanagement” and “systemic corruption” – despite clear gains in education. This legacy adds to the precariousness of the country’s path forward under the Taliban, even as some humanitarian assistance starts to flow again.

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Emily Schwartz Greco

Philanthropy + Nonprofits Editor

International Committee of the Red Cross rehabilitation center staff members assist a Taliban member on Oct. 11, 2021, in Kabul, Afghanistan. Bulent Kilic/AFP via Getty Images

What did billions in aid to Afghanistan accomplish? 5 questions answered

Mohammad Qadam Shah, Seattle Pacific University

A scholar from Afghanistan outlines what more than $150 billion in assistance did and didn’t accomplish in two decades following the arrival of U.S. troops un 2001.

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