Australia’s Millions of Dollar Futile in Building Better Place in Afghanistan

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By Athena Yenko | February 10, 2014 4:36 PM EST

In 2013, the United Nations said that civilians killed and wounded in Afghanistan increased by 14 per cent.

The annual report, titled UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, said that there were 2,959 killed and 5,656 wounded.

This number is expected to increase as new protests happen in a town which Australia had previously given aid to.

Australia's million of dollars spent to make a town in Afghanistan a better place went down the drain as protest sparked in the rural town of the Oruzgan capital, Tarin Kowt. The protesters burnt tyres, blocked roads and closed down businesses to express objection to alleged corruption and collusion with the Taliban by the provincial government.

The protesters alleged that Governor Amir Mohammad Akhundzada plundered funds from the Australian government. The funds were aimed to promote long-term stability and security of the south-central province.

An official (name withheld for security reason) revealed to Fairfax Media that corruption by Gov Akhundzada involved big overseas projects to simple local projects like roads and bridges across town.

A witness from the Australian Military and contractors in Oruzgan said that the protesters' claims were warranted.

However, Mr Akhundzada sternly denied the accusations, saying that they were just lies created by police officer Matiullah Khan.

"I am sure the people and all tribes in Oruzgan are with me for the rule of law and reforms. This is absolutely a problem between me and Matiullah Khan, the police chief," Mr Akhundzada said in a statement acquired by The Sydney Morning Herald.

Mr Khan was not available for comment.

Australia's Foreign Affairs Department confirmed it was aware of the "current events in Oruzgan," but said that the cause of turmoil was the presidential and Provincial Council's upcoming election in April 5.

As for the rift of the governor and aid projects, DFAT spokesman said he was not aware about the alleged corruptions.

''It is not clear that the allegations relate to activities funded by DFAT [or the former AusAID],'' the spokesman said.

"However, if credible allegations of corruption in DFAT AusAID funded projects were passed to us we would investigate in accordance with DFAT's fraud control policies," the DFAT spokesperson said.

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