The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) says its work on Afghanistan reconstruction from 2002 through 2020 identified systemic weaknesses in human resources, monitoring, contracting, information quality, coordination, and other management areas where internal control issues could increase the risk of waste, fraud, and abuse.
US GAO in a press release said that fifty GAO reports on Afghanistan reconstruction discussed such weaknesses and explicitly or implicitly referred to an increased risk of waste, fraud, or abuse as a result of the weaknesses.
“These systemic weaknesses cut across multiple sectors of reconstruction activities, such as security, roads and infrastructure, and agriculture,” the press release quoted GAO.
According to the press release, GAO made 154 recommendations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, of which 134, or 87 percent, were implemented.
” U.S. government has spent about $141 billion on reconstruction in Afghanistan since 2002. We’ve reported on issues that could increase the risk of waste, fraud, or abuse of these funds,” the press release reads.
“For instance, USAID worked to improve Afghanistan’s public financial management in order to transition leadership to the Afghan government—but the lack of baselines, performance targets, and data made it difficult to assess the success of those efforts. Reduced monitoring of these projects due to security concerns heightened the risk of fraud, waste, and mismanagement,” GAO added.