Aid and Security in Pakistan

Pakistan is the sort of place where you might not always want to advertise your links to the US. In the past month, American helicopters have killed two Pakistani soldiers, the CIA has stepped up its drone strikes in the tribal areas and thousands of people have demonstrated against the imprisonment of Aafia Siddiqui.

So if you were, say, a Western aid worker you might a few reservations about delivering goods with a nice red, white and blue logo with a row of stars and stripes on it…

Anyway this is what the good people at USAID are insisting on. Inevitably, charities tried to avoid displaying it too prominently – and maybe US officials were prepared to turn a blind eye – but that was until Richard Holbrooke visited and expressed his concern that the US was not getting sufficient credit for the hundreds of millions of dollars in aid being poured into Pakistan.

As a result, charities have been reminded of their obligation to use the logo. Although there are waivers for the most dangerous areas (Khyber Pakhtunkwa and Fata) they have been told these will be reviewed after 120 days. And none is being awarded for anywhere else.

Some of the problems with this are set out by Samuel Worthington of Interaction in The Washington Post. Such is the strong feeling among aid agencies that some – including, I understand, Oxfam – are prepared to give up millions of dollars in funding rather than risk more lives. As I report in The Daily Telegraph today, some of the aid world’s biggest names have put together a strongly-worded response to USAID policy, urging that Washington follows other major donors (the EU’s Echo and the UK’s DfID) in dropping branding in Pakistan. They argue:

We recommend that there should be no US branding at this present moment in Pakistan. There is no security analysis to support that a shift to branding aid in Pakistan will mitigate risk for INGO staff, partners and beneficiaries. Instead, there are strong indicators that branding will attract violent attacks for both economic and ideologically-motivated reasons. Branding in flood-affected areas must not be used as a test-case because the outcomes are likely to be fatal and impact on the longer-term ability of humanitarian agencies to deliver assistance in Pakistan. As an alternative, we propose that a communications strategy be developed by all key parties, with the aim of improving US visibility among the various target audiences.

But there’s a problem with dropping branding in regions of insecurity. Aid is increasingly being used overtly as a tool of foreign policy. As USAID makes clear, development has been added to diplomacy and defence as key tactics of national security. Britain’s DfID under Andrew Mitchell has followed suit, tying development assistance to foreign policy goals. But if you can’t brand aid in places such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia or Sudan, then part of its power in winning hearts and minds has been lost.

So far, American officials have been pretty bullish about the policy. Hillary Clinton even questioned the courage of aid workers, saying they were “afraid” to be associated with the US.

But it is not a question of courage. The aid workers I know are aware of the risks they face. Many here in Pakistan here now knew Linda Norgrove, who was kidnapped and killed in Afghanistan. It is a question of knowing the limits of acceptable risks. Using a stars and stripes logo lies on the wrong side of stupid.

If it was a question of courage, then none of them would leave Islamabad in anything other than a bulletproof car – which is the only way American diplomats are allowed to travel.

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52 responses to “Aid and Security in Pakistan

  1. If they don’t want to accept the conditions, dont take the money. What am I missing?

  2. but what to say now? america killed bin laden in pakistan

  3. If they don’t want to accept the conditions, dont take the money.

  4. great information! be happy

  5. If they don’t want to accept the conditions, dont take the money.

  6. Yeah you right, better they don’t take the money

  7. waiting for news

  8. stomatologie

    Great article, there is a real problem in Pakistan, we should bring more attention to it

  9. Americans are the problem

  10. I searched Google for dispensations and I found your blog :-) I like your blog, well done!

  11. so,what can you do?

  12. I guess there are special people, that do these job regardless of the danger of it .. The crazy thing is that can be killed for delivering their help.. Brave people.

  13. Cause Money.It’s made evil

  14. salecheapestprice

    Money is Evil

  15. Great article, there is a real problem in Pakistan, we should bring more attention to it

  16. I guess there are special people, that do these job regardless of the danger of it .. The crazy thing is that can be killed for delivering their help.. Brave people.

  17. I tottaly agree when is said if it was a question of courage, then none of them would leave Islamabad in anything other than a bulletproof car – which is the only way American diplomats are allowed to travel.

  18. I really admire those aid workers! They can easily be injured or something even worse every day, and yet every day they spend helping others. That is real humanity at its best!

  19. hmmmmm, that nice people still do this ! GOOD job !

  20. great information! be happy

  21. Great Article Your blog post about this topic is convenience and inspiration with me. A friend once informed me about some of the suggestions you share however I thought it was not proper because I had some other opinion which had been kept with me for years. Regarding your article, I right now know John appeared to be right. I think I should send him a letter immediately. Probably include your website link likewise. He too has to know more of the things people have everyone has learned from your blog post. Thanks

  22. what can you do with that ?

  23. My opinion is : “If they don’t want to accept the conditions, dont take the money”

  24. the Security in Pakistan is very bad..
    but seems good by now….

  25. The Turkey is helping to the Pakistan…

  26. pakistani security is very well. I am appreciate all security guards of pakistan.

  27. Pakistan is a poor country and it must be helped more financially

  28. Thanks for sharing such wonderful article! you gave us smart concepts for places to go to ny. glad u have a fun time in there. and dont worry the pics not being relevant as a result of i believe they are . thanks for the post!

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  30. Thank you for good information

  31. Pakistan’s awesome.

  32. After bin laden die the situation will improve.

  33. America is doing a great work in Afghanistan and what the hell Talibans are doing in Afganistan Bomb blast Blood etc
    Vertical Jump Bible

  34. And none is being awarded for anywhere else. Aid is increasingly being used overtly as a tool of foreign policy. The aid workers I know are aware of the risks they face. It is a question of knowing the limits of acceptable risks. Using a stars and stripes logo lies on the wrong side of stupid. The crazy thing is that can be killed for delivering their help. A friend once informed me about some of the suggestions you share however I thought it was not proper because I had some other opinion which had been kept with me for years. I think I should send him a letter immediately. Probably include your website link likewise. He too has to know more of the things people have everyone has learned from your blog post. I am appreciate all security guards of pakistan. glad u have a fun time in there. and dont worry the pics not being relevant as a result of i believe they are .com to post a comment to your blog.This blog site has got lots of very helpful information on it! Thanks for sharing it with me.

  35. agree to :stomatologie
    “Americans are the problem”

  36. good one…..all country should work together…..

  37. tank for this post i really apreciate thhe information thanks again

  38. nice like this but i love pakistan

  39. Thanks for sharing such wonderful article. you gave us smart concepts for places to go to ny. glad u have a fun time in there.
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  40. Keep operating ,excellent work !Paul

  41. I guess there are special people, that do these job regardless of the danger of it .. The crazy thing is that can be killed for delivering their help.. Brave people.

    Rating Hardware

  42. I hope go to pakistan one day if security will be there !

  43. seo bilbao

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