What have our efforts to improve the Afghan economy accomplished?
If you’re looking for good news on Afghanistan, this isn’t it. The US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction has found that our efforts to boost the country’s economic development have accomplished nothing:
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.”
Sopko has said the US’ unprecedented $120 billion reconstruction investment there is at risk because Afghanistan is rife with corruption and lacks the security, technical prowess and economic health to sustain much of the work the US has done. 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.
Here’s the clincher:
“We need to make a commitment there because they can’t afford the government we’ve given them, and if our intended goal was a government that would keep or kick the terrorists out, we’re going to have to fund it,” Sopko said.
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.
If we stop supporting the Afghan government, it will collapse.
There’s nothing in that report that wasn’t obvious a year ago, five years ago, or a decade ago.