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A crew works on a road in Kapisa Province, Afghanistan, in August.

Counterinsurgency theory bumps up against some hard realities in Afghanistan: "All the contractors for development projects pay the Taliban for protection and use of the roads, so American and coalition dollars help finance the Taliban." Read more»

A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle from the 335th Fighter Squadron at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, drops a flare during the demolition of the “Taliban Hotel,” a safehouse utilized by insurgent fighters infiltrating Afghanistan.

A one-year probe into USAID funding in Afghanistan found that Afghan subcontractors have been funneling millions of dollars in taxpayer money to the Taliban, according to a summary of the report obtained by GlobalPost. Read more»

A Marine helps an Afghan farmer with a bag of fertilizer, Marjah, April 25.

If the underlying intent of international aid projects is to "win the hearts and minds" of the Afghan people, then by many measures the United States is failing. Read more»

Members of a U.S. Navy air crew help Pakistani soldiers unload relief supplies from a Navy Sea Dragon helicopter on Aug. 21. The helicopter is from the assault ship U.S.S. Peleliu, which is providing heavy lift capabilities to the aid efforts in flooded regions of Pakistan.

In humanitarian role, US military tries to win over hearts and minds in Pakistan, where massive floods have affected almost one-fourth of the country over the last three weeks, killing more than 1,600 people and displacing millions. Read more»

The U.S.-Mexico border in San Luis, Ariz., in 2008.

A government report finds the U.S. has been too slow to aid Mexico and other crime-ridden countries at a time when drug-related violence is escalating. Efforts to combat alien smuggling have also fallen short, but Arizona earns praise for dismantling smuggling operations. Read more»

Sailors and soldiers load water onto a helicopter for distribution in Haiti, Jan. 2010.

Pledging money is the easy part. The U.S., the lead donor and friend with the greatest interest in Haiti’s development, can do much more: its own aid programs can be more effective; and it can take steps that are far more critical to long-run prosperity for Haiti’s people. Read more»

Spc. Corey Thompson, 420th Engineer Brigade, works with Australian combat engineers as they align two sections of a bridge in Afghanistan. GlobalPost reports that non-military construction contractors have paid protection money to the Taliban.

The United States Agency for International Development has opened an investigation into allegations that its funds for road and bridge construction in Afghanistan are ending up in the hands of the Taliban, through a protection racket for contractors. Read more»

Afghan men work on a U.N. road construction project.

In Afghanistan, one of the richest sources of Taliban funding is the foreign assistance coming into the country. Virtually every major project includes a healthy cut for the insurgents. Call it protection money, call it extortion, or, as the Taliban themselves prefer to term it, “spoils of war,” the fact remains that international donors, primarily the United States, are to a large extent financing their own enemy. Read more»