Thursday, 9 May 2013

Anyone out there listening to SIGAR?

The latest 232-page quarterly report of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) contains a useful overview of US aid efforts in the country, showing where more than $93 billion has been spent since 2002.

The report highlights the usual problems– new hospitals in Gardez and Khair Khot that are unlikely to run for very long as their operating budgets are five times the existing budget, or millions of dollars’ worth of electrical equipment sitting around unused by the main power distribution company – as well as a few that ought to have been sorted by now: the Afghan National Security Forces still have no easy way of determining how many people serve in the Army or police forces. 
Yesterday in Washington, SIGAR boss John Sopko revealed that $50m stolen from the US government had disappeared from a Kabul bank vault, despite efforts to freeze the account. Sopko referred to the Afghan government in his speech as a "criminal patronage network".
SIGAR is doing a great job, but is anyone listening?

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