USAID is announcing that the Obama Administration has decided to “drastically” cut back the number of aid projects inside Pakistan as part of an effort to counter the view that the multi-billion dollar annual aid budget is doing next to nothing for the average Pakistan.
Officials had expressed concern that the $2.6 billion annual expenses was mostly being wasted on projects that didn’t go anywhere, and that anti-US sentiment across Pakistan continues to get worse, though interestingly they didn’t appear to see any link between worsening relations and the massive number of US cross-border attacks into Pakistan.
Rajiv Shah, the head of USAID, insists that the massive cut in projects won’t mean any actual cuts in spending, and instead says that they will start massive “higher profile” projects that they hope “the entire country of 185 million people can see and value and appreciate.”
Shah says the bigger projects will give the US “more leverage” over the Pakistani government. The real thing Pakistanis would seem to appreciate, not launching constant drone strikes against their tribal areas, is not being considered.