Afghanistan: Aid

The Russians have gone skilfully about the job. Without waiting for specific Afghan requests for aid, they planked down some offers. The Afghans promptly chose just the flashy and low-cost projects the Russians wanted them to: street paving in dusty Kabul, gleaming petroleum tanks, grain silos, bakeries. Most Afghans were impressed by these tangible achievements.

David Douglas Duncan, “Asia’s Rugged Buffer: U.S. tries to keep Afghanistan from sliding into Soviet orbit,” Life (April 9, 1956)

First of all, we must not delay the supply of armaments until April, but must give everything now, without delay, in March… Secondly, we must inform Taraki that we are raising the price of gas from 15 to 25 rubles per thousand cubic metres. And third, I think we should supply Afghanistan with 100 thousand tons of bread… We must put up a struggle for Afghanistan; after all, we have lived side by side for 60 years.

A Kosygin, “Deterioration of Conditions in the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan and Possible Responses From Our Side,” Meeting of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (March 17, 1979)

As part of an overall effort to promote stronger relations with the indigenous government, counter Soviet influence, and encourage internal trade and political cohesion, during the 1960s the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers oversaw a program to modernize Afghanistan’s primitive system of roads.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, “Historical Vignette 039” (December 2001)

The Kajaki Dam, a large hydroelectric power plant in the mountains of Helmand province has been a symbol of unfulfilled American ambition in Afghanistan from almost the day it was inaugurated half a century ago.

Rajiv Chandrasekaran, “U.S. military, diplomats at odds over how to resolve Kandahar’s electricity woes,” Washington Post (April 23, 2010)

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