More Afghanistan Aid Please

Peter Graves | The Canberra Times | 8 April 2017
The visit of Afghanistan’s President Ghani is a welcome indication of Australia’s bilateral relationship, after Prime Minister Turnbull’s visit to Kabul in January.

The withdrawal of ISAF troops did not mean “mission accomplished” there, with a strongly resurgent Taliban in evidence.

However, the increase in our military commitment has not been matched by assistance to Afghanistan’s civilians. Australia’s help continues to decline, from $131million in 2014-15, to $87.1million in 2015-16 and $82.7million in 2016-17.

Foreign assistance makes up 74 per cent of Afghanistan’s public expenditure.

An average Afghan income in 2014 was US$680, or about $13 per week. That aid reduction of $48million makes a difference to the average Afghan and their children.

Our refugee policy does not help them. Australia’s aid does: more please.

Peter Graves, Curtin