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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Lax guidance feeds Afghan corruption; report says billions in aid wasted -- By Maggie Ybarra, The Washington Times

The government's top watchdog for Afghan reconstruction says the State Department's failure to provide guidance over the use of billions of dollars in U.S. funds for rebuilding projects is exacerbating problems with rampant corruption ahead of the much-anticipated U.S. troop pullout.

In an exclusive interview with The Washington Times, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John F. Sopko raised red flags about the State Department's shortcomings before he testifies to Congress on Thursday about the wasteful government spending in Afghanistan.

Mr. Sopko said he will brief lawmakers on issues related to the reconstruction efforts of the U.S. Agency For International Development, which administers civilian aid.

Afghanistan is approaching a pivotal point in its nascent democracy. Remaining U.S. troops are preparing to exit the country, and a new president will soon have to grapple with an odd mixture of uncertain security plans, piecemeal conversations with the violent Taliban and haphazard reconstruction projects peppered with corrupt opportunists.

The inspector general warned that the confluence of circumstances is a harbinger of emerging problems and that Afghanistan — and the State Department — are poisoning the well from which reconstruction money is drawn.

"They're not living up to their requirements that have been imposed by the international community on fighting crime, corruption — all that," Mr. Sopko said. "We've continued the funding. We've waived our internal controls. We really have not held their feet to the fire."

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