The ability of American and Afghan officials to oversee the billions spent in Afghanistan on reconstruction is being further restricted because of cuts to the staff who check how the funds are spent, the inspector general auditing the U.S. reconstruction effort in Afghanistan will testify on the Capitol Wednesday.
According to a new report by the Special Inspector General of Afghan Reconstruction, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul says it has been forced to cut its staff by 40 percent, which leaves a considerable void in the staff available to oversee where taxpayer money goes. Much of it is allocated to pay the salaries of Afghan security forces, who are expected to assume much of the security responsibilities as the U.S. military footprint diminishes over time. The embassy, the report notes, did not provide a reason as to why it was forced to cut its staff. The inspector general was told the cuts were non-negotiable, and describes the 40 percent figure as “arbitrary.”
The Special Inspector General, John Sopko, will speak before the Subcommittee on National Security on Wednesday, to discuss audits of the nearly $1 trillion the U.S. has spent over 14 years in Afghanistan. “Of that $1 trillion, almost $110 billion has been invested in attempting to create a capable Afghan force that can secure the country and a competent Afghan government that can provide much needed services to its people,” the report notes.
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