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$700 Million in Afghan Aid


November 24, 2014
David Pugliese / The Ottawa Citizen & Joe Gould / Military Times

John Sopko, the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, says he is investigating the Pentagon's efforts to spark that country's economic development, which cost between $700 million and $800 million and "accomplished nothing." Spoko complained: "We have gotten serious allegations about the management and mismanagement" including a Defense Department unit aimed at developing war zone mining, industrial development and fostering private investments.

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/defence-watch/700-million-in-afghan-aid-accomplished-nothing-new-watchdog-report-finds

$700 Million in Afghan Aid "Accomplished Nothing"
New Watchdog Report Finds

David Pugliese / The Ottawa Citizen

OTTAWA (November 19, 2014) -- Unlike Canada's Auditor General, the U.S. government's watchdog continues to probe into how well taxpayer's money sent to Afghanistan were used . . . or in many cases, was wasted.

The US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) says he is investigating the Pentagon's efforts to spark that country's economic development, which cost between $700 million and $800 million and "accomplished nothing." My Defense News colleague Joe Gould writes in his latest article.

More from Joe Gould's article:
SIGAR's chief, John Sopko, told reporters Tuesday, that the agency has opened an "in-depth review" into the Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO), a Defense Department unit aimed at developing war zone mining, industrial development and fostering private investments.

"We have gotten serious allegations about the management and mismanagement of that agency, as well as a policy question about what they were doing and whether they should have existed," Sopko said.

David Pugliese is a journalist with the Ottawa Citizen. He specializes in reporting on military issues. You can email him at dpugliese@ottawacitizen.com



SIGAR: Pentagon's Economic Development in Afghanistan 'Accomplished Nothing'
Joe Gould / Military Times

WASHINGTON (November 18, 2014) -- SIGAR's chief, John Sopko, told reporters Tuesday, that the agency has opened an "in-depth review" into the Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO), a Defense Department unit aimed at developing war zone mining, industrial development and fostering private investments.

"We have gotten serious allegations about the management and mismanagement of that agency, as well as a policy question about what they were doing and whether they should have existed," Sopko said.

More broadly, Sopko faulted the US government's economic development efforts in Afghanistan as "an abysmal failure". . . "We have seen hit-and-miss efforts to develop the [Afghan] economy," Sopko said of the US. . . .

Untapped mineral wealth in Afghanistan is estimated at $1 trillion, but Sopko noted that Afghanistan has only recently passed mineral laws and legal gaps make investment unattractive. Critics say the law lacks transparency regarding contracts and ownership, and strong rules for open and fair bidding. . . .

Sopko has said the US' unprecedented $120 billion reconstruction investment there is at risk because Afghanistan is rife with corruption . . . . He cited the case of $486 million the Defense Department spent for 20 G222 transport planes intended for the Afghan Air Force that sat idle in Kabul before they were sold for $32,000 and scrapped. . . .

Afghanistan's domestic revenues do not cover its total public expenditures, 90 percent of which are funded by the US and international partners, according to a report last year from another government watchdog, the Government Accountability Office.

See the complete article at:
Joe Gould / Military Times

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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