Afghan Government falling short of filling key Kandahar positions

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

KANDAHAR - The Afghan government has failed to fill dozens of key positions in Kandahar, leaving an ineffectual local administration that U.S. officials fear will cripple the battlefield progress the military says it is making in the Taliban stronghold.

Just a month before President Obama will review the state of the Afghan war, top U.S. commander Gen. David Petraeus and other military officers are making their case that the influx of American troops has pushed the Taliban out of key parts of Kandahar.

But the Afghan government that U.S. officials hoped could step in to provide basic services remains a skeleton staff of unskilled bureaucrats that is incapable of functioning on its own, according to U.S. officials.

For the past year, the United States and its NATO allies have tried to build a Kandahar administration that can address residents’ grievances and sway them from the Taliban.

The U.S. has also embarked on a massive spending spree in order to prop up Kandahar authorities and provide basic services. ut with power monopolized by the central government in Kabul, the provincial and municipal offices in southern Afghanistan’s largest city are hamstrung and undermanned.

“The security picture is improving so fast and so dramatically that it puts the shortfall in civilian capacity in alarming relief,” The Washington Post and The Telegraph quoted one U.S. official in Kandahar, as saying.

He added: “The potential single failure point is the Afghan government.”

Only about 40 Afghans work for the city government, out of 120 job slots, and the governor’s staff faces a similar shortfall. ut even these numbers are misleading, as many of those on staff serve in menial jobs such as cooks or gardeners. (ANI)

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