U.S. inspector general paints grim picture of Afghanistan reconstruction

After 15 years, billions of dollars and thousands of American casualties, U.S. efforts to rebuild Afghanistan are in a perilous state, according to the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

John F. Sopko's assessment has its doubters, but he paints a stark picture of security so shaky and roads so dangerous that inspector general staff take helicopters to the airport rather than drive. Contracting can be so shoddy, buildings crumble months after they're built.
More than 700 schools have been closed because of the ongoing insurgency. Bribery, money laundering and other forms of corruption continue to sap revenues. And despite at least $7 billion in counternarcotics spending, opium production hit 3,300 tons in 2015 -- exactly the same level it was in 2000, according to Sopko.

"Fifteen years into an unfinished work of funding and fighting, we must indeed ask, 'What went wrong?'" Sopko said in remarks prepared for delivery at Harvard University Thursday. "The reconstruction effort in Afghanistan is in a perilous state."

Sopko, who has a background in international law and as a congressional investigator before being appointed by Obama in 2012, said the U.S. military drawdown has created blind spots for the Pentagon, which isn't as able to collect reliable information on Afghan security capability and effectiveness.

Conditions there, he said, "illustrate a grim strategic threat."


No comments:

Post a Comment