Posted by: Christian | August 14, 2009

Best USAID Afghanistan Project Ever

You gotta love this:

Title: Feasibility Study for Cigarette Manufacturing in Afghanistan. Author: USAID/Afghanistan. Publisher: Thomas H. Miner & Associates, Chicago.

Really, what can you say about this study?

Well, it’s from 1965, that’s what. US development projects in Afghanistan back in the day were rather interesting. The Helmand Valley Authority, for one [sorry about that!]. And then there was the USAID guy in Kandahar who drove a giant pink Cadillac, which the locals set on fire one day. If you wanted to destroy something symbolic during a riot, you just could not do better than that. Good stuff.

Want to read the cigarette study? Too bad. It’s buried in a corn field in Nebraska.

Whoops…and in a gorge in Ithaca.


  1. Last month in the Nad-e-Ali area, some Afghan police showed me a big abandoned factory of some kind that had documents and booklets lying around from USAID, Helmand Valley Authority, and U.S. Steel (also Taliban graffiti on the walls). Lots of rusting construction equipment, and papers dated as early as 1955 and as late as 1962. Any idea what that was?

  2. Tintin,

    Follow this link:

    The Helmand Valley Authority project was huge. It included infrastructure for the dam, agricultural projects downstream, resettlement communities, planned communities, related infrastructure (transportation, schools, hospitals, agricultural storage facilities), etc…

    Could be anything. God knows what the total tally of BS projects down south was (but to be sure, way less than the BS Soviet projects in the north).

  3. 1. Cigarettes.
    2. Pink cadillac.
    3. …

  4. That was a trip! Thanks for the paper to read.

  5. I just stumbled on this today, but wow, what a paper. That’s brilliant, in its own way. Off to read.

  6. It’s a better idea than opium, and it would be bipartisan in that it would irritate lawmakers on both sides.


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