A lack of coordinated oversight of America’s spending in Afghanistan has led to a waste of funds and hampered training and development of the country’s security forces, according to a watchdog group that monitors billions of dollars in U.S. aid to the country, as reported by the New York Times and Associated Press.
The U.S. has so far spent more than $84 billion dollars on Afghan forces over the last 17 years but those forces continue to suffer staggering losses and bleed personnel. Soldiers go home on leave and never return.
The report from Washington’s Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, or SIGAR, released late Thursday painted a troubling picture of a costly Afghan security development scheme, with multiple supervising U.S. and NATO departments that don’t coordinate with one another.
The report said the “security sector assistance mission in Afghanistan lacked an enduring and comprehensive plan” from the start.
It also was critical of the U.S.’s seeming reluctance to involve Afghans in key decisions before implementing systems and constructing military facilities. The report quoted a former member of the U.S. team, tasked with advising and training Afghanistan’s security institutions, as saying: “The Afghans were informed and directed, not asked or consulted.”
Previously, The Associated Press reported that Afghan military commanders in southern Helmand province complained that their U.S. advisers ignored their guidance. In one example, the U.S. ignored requests to scale back a military facility that required three generators to power. The advice was ignored and the facility is often in the dark because of a lack of fuel to fire up the generators.
The SIGAR report pointed out the folly of ignoring Washington’s Afghan partners, saying “the United States has implemented systems that the Afghans will not be able to maintain without U.S. support.”