When the Taliban overthrew the Afghan Army and the Ghani government, more than $100 billion of U.S. funding went down the drain, according to a watchdog report.
The United States provided $89 billion in training and equipping the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces and more than $17 billion "in on-budget assistance" to the Afghan government, according to the latest quarterly report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction released on Friday.
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Despite the expensive price tag, neither held up against the Taliban during an offensive in August when both were overthrown as the U.S. was weeks away from their impending withdrawal from Afghanistan.
"Today, the [Afghan National Defense and Security Forces] no longer exist," the report states, noting that under the temporary government, the rights of women and girls are "under direct threat from the new Taliban regime."
One audit conducted by the inspector general's office found that that the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan did not hold the Afghan army "to account by enforcing the conditions [of a signed commitment with Afghan ministries] to create a stronger, more professional, and more-self reliant" Afghan military, the report continues.
The agency also determined that CSTC-A was inconsistent in how they assessed the Ministries of Defense and Interior and that they infrequently enforced punishments.
The 20-year war, which cost 2,400 American service members and at least 1,233 contractors their lives, "was a series of mistaken decisions, made over two decades, with converging and deleterious impacts."
SIGAR encountered "delays and a lack of cooperation" during the audit of the Defense Department's oversight of NATO's Afghan National Army Trust Fund from the Pentagon and ultimately "decided to conclude the fieldwork and write the report based on limited information that DoD provided."
The fund was created in 2007, and as of March 2021, the U.S. and other countries had donated $3.4 billion to it, which was first used to support the transportation of equipment for the Afghan army. Its scope was expanded in 2014.
During an event on Friday, the inspector general, John Sopko, alleged that the State Department wanted them to redact reports and even take some offline in August during the noncombatant evacuation operation.
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The comptroller of the State Department reached out to SIGAR asking that they "‘temporarily suspend access' to all ‘audit, inspection, and financial audits/costs incurred audit reports'" and SIGAR said they did so "with great reservation." Then, in September, the State Department's Office of Foreign Assistance provided SIGAR with a list of 2,400 additional items it wanted redacted, though some were "baffling," according to the report.
One was former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's name, and Sopko said, "While I'm sure the former president may wish to be excised from the annals of history, I don't believe he faces any threats simply from being referenced by SIGAR."
Original Location: US spent more than $100B on since-dismantled Afghan government and army: Watchdog
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