A U.S. government monitoring agency says that more than two dozen programs that cost more than $2.3 billion “were unsuccessful overall as implemented in Afghanistan.”
The findings were released on Saturday by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), which is responsible for reviewing billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars spent or allocated to help rebuild the war-torn country.
The audit focused on the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) Measuring Impacts of Stabilization Initiatives (MISTI) project that was launched in 2012 to monitor and evaluate ongoing stabilization programs.
The SIGAR report said that insurgents targeted programs in areas where the Afghan government was in control while USAID faced a host of “systemic challenges” in implementing and conducting oversight of the stabilization projects.
The report said the company contracted to implement MISTI, told SIGAR “it could not properly locate where USAID conducted stabilization activities because of the inaccurate geospatial data it received, and as a result, could not begin conducting verification work.”
The audit quotes USAID officials as telling SIGAR that they do not have any agency or mission-level policies to govern or guide the collection, maintenance, use, or sharing of geospatial data.
Unless the problem is addressed, USAID will continue to operate with inaccurate, problematic geospatial data, not knowing where its program activities are being conducted, the audit warned.
“This will continue to limit the agency’s ability to provide effective oversight and to mitigate potential fraud, waste, and abuse in connection with its programs in Afghanistan."