Buying the Boss Dinner

I’m sure some Americans will say that the $100,000 pledged by Afghanistan to help the US deal with Hurricane Katrina was a symbolic gesture of goodwill, or some other such platitude. I agree that it’s symbolic, but not of “the strength of the ties between our two peoples.”[1] Don’t get me wrong. I have never experienced as much hospitality as I did during my visit to Afghanistan. Despite the tenuous livelihoods of most people there, I have no doubt that many Afghans would be perfectly willing to give up what little comforts they had if they thought it would help others in need. But that isn’t what this is about, is it?

Afghanistan is now a major US base in Central Asia, dependent on US backing. The Afghan government is right now bankrolled by the United States and other foreign powers. I’m sure Hamid Karzai does nothing controversial unless he already discussed it with Washington. $100,000 goes a long way in Afghanistan. In my experience, $100,000 was enough to run RAWA’s Malalai Hospital, which saw about 200 patients a day, for five months.[2]

Karzai using the funds of his devastated country to give back $100,000 to the US is like a sweatshop manager buying the owner of the company dinner with the funds that were supposed to go towards employee salaries.


  1. Reuters
  2. Afghan Women’s Mission – The hospital was forced to close due to lack of funds. RAWA has opened a smaller clinic instead.

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