Here's what $1.5 billion for women's rights in Afghanistan gets you

America has spent $1.5 billion on women's rights in Afghanistan.  Here are the results:

In rural areas, nothing has changed. Women are still imprisoned in their homes. Despite spending at least $1.5 billion on empowering Afghan women, the country is still viewed as one of the worst in the world for women.

The West has helped Afghanistan to expand and improve maternal health care, as well as open up schools that girls can attend in urban and rural areas. But as Nimmi Gowrinathan, a visiting professor at City College in New York, said of educating girls, "That's the reality until the sixth grade, when they get married."

... a major investigation by BuzzFeed, released in July 2015, found female enrollment had been overstated by an average of 40 percent at U.S.-funded schools in Afghanistan. The investigation, based on visits to 50 U.S.-funded schools, internal U.S. and Afghan documents and more than 150 interviews, also found faulty construction and widespread corruption. At least a tenth of the schools were "ghosts," meaning they were either closed or never existed in the first place.

USAID has said that it built 551 health clinics in Afghanistan. But when SIGAR examined the coordinates of the clinics, the location of 56 of them had "weaknesses," SIGAR explained in a June 2015 letter to USAID. Thirteen of the listed clinics were not in Afghanistan at all (one was located in the Mediterranean Sea); 30 were located in a different province from the one USAID had indicated; 13 were duplicated. For 189 of the coordinates, a physical structure could not be seen within 400 feet (81 of these showed no physical structure within a half-mile). 

This article is a year old, but the author, Amie Ferris-Rotman, was on NPR yesterday to talk about it.  She said that even though the money has been largely ineffective, America should spend more.

I would suspect that 99% of you reading this know the real problem. You can't fund "women's rights" in Afghanistan in a vacuum.  The problem is the primitive way Islam is practiced in Afghanistan, making women slaves.  You could fund 10,000 graduate scholarships for Afghan girls in art history or women's studies or LGBT studies, and it would make zero difference.  The only difference is that the American taxpayer is out $1.5 billion, and this mindset, this culture, is what we are busy importing into America.

Ed Straker is the senior writer at

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