Taliban Gains Threaten US Reconstruction Schemes in Afghanistan

Billions Already Wasted, Program's Rare Successes Now at Risk

by Jason Ditz, June 09, 2016

Since 2001, some $113 billion has been spent on Afghanistan reconstruction projects by the US. Massive amounts of that went to waste, the result of sloppy planning, poor record keeping, and just plain criminality.

Still, even a broken clock is right twice a day, and a few projects actually came to fruition, and if not exactly well-considered, aren’t totally worthless. At least not yet. But the Taliban’s advances are putting even those rare successes at serious risk.

Security had already hampered a great many of these projects, with more than a little money set aside for security finding its way into the hands of Taliban or other powerful warlords. Such protection schemes were common, and places where they didn’t happen usually saw the construction delayed and workers attacked.

Pentagon officials downplayed this latest report, from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, saying that the Afghan military continues to make “steady progress” in its efforts to defend the country.

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