Saturday, September 29, 2012

Afghan schools and clinics built by British military forced to close

Schools and health centres built by the British in Afghanistan as part of the military's counter-insurgency strategy are being forced to close down because President Karzai's government cannot afford to pay for them, the Guardian has learned.

Britain has spent hundreds of millions of pounds in the province over the last six years building and restoring services decimated by conflict and the years of Taliban rule.

But the Guardian has been told that a confidential report compiled this year warned that some of the buildings in Helmand were constructed without enough consultation with the Afghan government and without thinking through how they would be maintained.

Senior British officials in Helmand are working with Afghan ministers to identify the schools and clinics that are deemed "critical" and should remain open, while most of the rest could be phased out between now and the end of 2014.

The report made clear the British "had built too much" in the province, and that this was a consequence of the UK military trying to win "hearts and minds" among the populace. Read More