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$2.4b wasted on projects in Afghanistan: SIGAR

1 Mar 2021 - 08:55
1 Mar 2021 - 08:55

KABUL (Pajhwok): At least $2.4 billion in American taxpayers’ money has been wasted on reconstruction projects in Afghanistan, a US watchdog said on Sunday.

The Special Inspector-General for Afghanistan’s Reconstruction (SIGAR) highlighted the waste of US taxpayer dollars in a report, titled US-Funded Capital Assets in Afghanistan,

This report summarises all capital assets in Afghanistan paid for by US agencies that SIGAR has found in its prior work to be unused, not used for their intended purposes, deteriorated or destroyed.

The capital assets reviewed for the report were funded by DOD, USAID, OPIC and the State Department to build schools, prisons, a hotel, hospitals, roads, bridges and Afghan military facilities.

Of the nearly $7.8 billion in capital assets reviewed in its prior reports, SIGAR identified about $2.4 billion in assets that were unused or abandoned, had not been used for their intended purposes, had deteriorated or were destroyed.

“By contrast, SIGAR found that more than $1.2 billion out of the $7.8 billion in assets were being used as intended and only $343.2 million out of the $7.8 billion in assets were maintained in good condition,”  the watchdog added.

SIGAR explained most of the capital assets not used properly or in disrepair or abandoned were directly related to US agencies not considering whether the Afghans wanted or needed the facilities, or whether the Afghan government had the financial ability and technical means to sustain them.

“This waste of taxpayer dollars occurred despite multiple laws stating that US agencies should not construct or procure capital assets until they can show that the benefiting country has the financial and technical resources, and capability to use and maintain those assets effectively,” the report noted.

“SIGAR’s work reveals a pattern of US agencies pouring too much money, too quickly, into a country too small to absorb it,” said Special Inspector General John F. Sopko.

“The fact that so many capital assets wound up not used, deteriorated or abandoned should have been a major cause of concern for the agencies financing these projects,” he remarked.

If the United States was going to pay for reconstruction or development in Afghanistan, it should make certain the recipient needed it and could sustain it.

“Secondly, make certain before you spend the money there is proper oversight to prevent this type of waste,” the special inspector-general concluded.

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