Nadia Naviwala is Pakistan Desk officer at USAID, a recent graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School, and a former national security aide in the U.S. Senate. This article reflects her personal views and does not represent the views of the USAID.
Since the publication of Three Cups of Tea, Americans have lavished nearly $60 million on Greg Mortenson's Central Asia Institute, to build schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Last week, four years after the book came out, someone — CBS's 60 Minutes — finally visited the schools that Mortenson claims to have built, and found many empty, misused or nonexistent.
Reading about the extent of financial irregularity and lack of oversight at CAI, is heartbreaking. But worse, I dread how the crumbling of Three Cups of Tea will reinforce American skepticism and Pakistani cynicism about positive efforts in the region.
The shoddiness of Mortenson'…