Battle Over Kunduz Highlights Risk to Huge US Afghan Investments

Lack of Basic Security Makes Programs Impossible to Sustain

Though poor documentation of where the $110 billion in US spending on Afghanistan reconstruction actually went makes it difficult to tell exactly how much is in direct risk, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John Sopko warned that the fall of Kunduz to the Taliban put a lot of reconstruction programs in danger.

“If Kunduz can fall, what does that say about the capabilities of ANDSF in other places?” Sopko wondered, saying the massive reconstruction programs are virtually impossible to sustain without some guarantee of basic security for the contractors.

SIGAR has repeatedly documented the enormous amount of waste and fraud in Afghan reconstruction schemes, but while that dramatically lowers the practical value of what the $110 billion bought in Afghanistan, there are still a lot of such programs whose loss would be a blow to the Afghan government and the US-led occupation.

The loss of Kunduz is hitting a lot of officials, both Afghan and NATO, pretty hard as the city was seen as virtually untouchable for Taliban forces, and no one expected that their “spring offensive” in the province would end with them seizing the major city.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.