Can Local Government Succeed In Afghanistan?

The premise of President Obama’s recent speech was that local government in Afghanistan could be created that met the needs of the population. Lt. Col. Richard Crevier is working in a remote village in Afghanistan to establish the basis of an effective government that provides food, jobs, and education to the population. “Right now it’s a race between the Taliban and us” over who first will be successful in local government building. His force of Marines in Khan Neshin work with local officials like district governor Massoud Badouch, who left Kabul to work with people in a direct manner. A basic problem is lack of literate trained staff who are willing to go into the boondocks and work with people struggling to have a decent life.

According to Balouch, the provincial government of Helmand appointed senior staff for the governor, but he soon discovered they were corrupt and inefficient. At this point, Balouch needs funding from foreign sources to pay local administrators. For example, there are only two teachers assigned to the area and when one failed to show up, the other had responsibility for 100 children.

Has Obama considered problems in persuading doctors, teachers and effective police to reside in rural areas? One suspects, the rhetoric of Obama speeches is never matched with specific plans for local government.