NEWSFLASH: Pakistan and the US Speak a Different Language (…when it comes to foreign aid)

On her most recent visit to Pakistan, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced more than $500 million in civilian aid to Pakistan as part of the $7.5 billion development pledge stipulated by the Kerry-Lugar bill in Congress.

The announcement, which came after the signing of a historic trade agreement between Afghanistan and Pakistan, outlined several specific development projects to be undertaken within the next five years. Nancy Birdsall over at the Center for Global Development advised last week that the aid package must aim for the country’s long-term economic development rather than its short-term loyalty.

Meanwhile, over the weekend Wikileaks released a wide array of documents that detail Pakistan’s own definition of aid when it comes to America’s war in Afghanistan. Apparently, winning over the hearts and minds of a country that hates everyone is more difficult than it sounds. All of this brings even more attention to the Obama Administration’s approach to the AfPak theatre, especially as questions loom regarding the President’s set withdrawal date of mid-next year.

More broadly speaking, however, these issues highlight the difficulty of delivering aid effectively in wartime as part of the war’s strategy. When USAID partners are becoming a target of the enemy and kidnappings of aid workers are on the rise, how do you implement development assistance on the ground? Stay tuned because Hudson may soon have an answer.

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