USAID, an enormous component of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, is squandering its budget for a key stability program, this according to a new report from the special inspector general for Afghan reconstruction.
USAID has spent nearly one quarter of a $200 million budget to provide infrastructure and support to key areas of Afghanistan, but according to the inspector’s audit, virtually none of that money has gone toward the essential component of the program.
The program was designed to address key areas of instability defined by communities in Afghanistan, but the $47 million that’s been spent to date has gone toward conferences or overhead costs and workshops.
In a war where costs are in the hundreds of billions of dollars, but tangible progress has been elusive, many have accused USAID of measuring success in dollars and cents, which encourages frivolous spending.
“It’s troubling that after 16 months, this program has not issued its first community grant. Rather, it has spent nearly $50 million — roughly a quarter of the total program budget — on conferences, overhead and workshops. This looks like bad value for U.S. taxpayers and the Afghan people,” John F. Sopko, the special inspector general who ordered the audit, said in a release.
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