Corruption, Lack of Oversight Plague US Reconstruction Efforts in Afghanistan

Projects Face Cost Overruns, Missed Deadlines

In a report released today, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) hit out at the assorted reconstruction policies of the US, blaming poor communications and reporting for missed deadlines.

But the problems go deeper than that. as seen in its $732 million project to improve electricity supplies in the nation. Electrical capacity has more than doubled in the last eight years, according to auditors.

But that capacity will likely go to waste, as the Afghan government will be unable to afford fuel to operate its plants without foreign aid. Even then, the corrupt Afghan legal system requires 25 official signatures before a citizen can legally obtain electricity, meaning most Afghans either have to bribe their way to access or not bother.

SIGAR notes that Congress has allocated $39 billion for reconstruction since 2001, but it has only actually been overseeing those operations since 2008. Officials say they have absolutely no way of telling how much of this money has been lost to inefficiency and corruption.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.