Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

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High-Risk List for the Afghanistan reconstruction effort

AAN 2 min

SIGAR, 10 December 2014

Today SIGAR released a high-risk list for the Afghanistan reconstruction effort that calls attention to areas that are especially vulnerable to significant waste, fraud, and abuse. The seven items on the list are areas in which SIGAR believes U.S. implementing agencies are failing to mitigate risks in their operations. The high-risk list was released at an event today at the Carnegie Endowment. The high-risk areas are: 

1) Corruption/Rule of Law
--The initial U.S. strategy in Afghanistan fostered a political climate conducive to corruption. 
--U.S. assistance has been provided for reconstruction without the benefit of a comprehensive anticorruption strategy.

2) Sustainability
--Much of the more than $104 billion the United States has committed to reconstruction projects and programs risks being wasted because the Afghans cannot sustain the investment without massive continued donor support.
--Under current and future plans, the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are not fiscally sustainable.

3) Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) Capacity and Capabilities
--In an audit report on ANSF facilities, SIGAR found that the Afghan government would likely be incapable of fully sustaining ANSF facilities after the transition in 2014 and the expected decrease in U.S. and Coalition support.
--An audit report raised concerned that, despite a $200 million literacy-training contract, no one appeared to know the overall literacy rate of the ANSF.

4) On-Budget Support
--SIGAR has long been concerned about the risk to U.S. funds provided to Afghanistan in the form of on-budget assistance, since 2002 U.S. has committed more than $7.7 billion.
--An audit of the $236 million Partnership Contracts for Health program found USAID continues to provide millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars in direct assistance with little assurance that the Afghan Ministry of Public Health is using these funds as intended.

5) Counternarcotics
--Although the U.S. has invested about $7.8 billion in counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan, Afghan farmers are growing more opium than ever before.
--The latest U.S. strategy documents indicate that combating narcotics in Afghanistan is no longer a top priority.

6) Contract Management and Oversight Access
--No one knows the precise value of contracting in the Afghanistan reconstruction effort that began in 2002: the federal government has no central database on the subject.

7) Strategy and Planning 
--Lack of “implementation/operational planning” — making sure that U.S. activities in Afghanistan actually contribute to overall national goals there — threatens to cause agencies and projects to work at counterpurposes, spend money on frivolous endeavors, or fail to coordinate efforts to maximize impact.