U.S. watchdog warns billions invested in Afghan security at risk
January 24th, 2011
12:18 PM ET

U.S. watchdog warns billions invested in Afghan security at risk

Billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars spent to train, equip and support Afghanistan security forces may end up wasted, according to the watchdog of reconstruction spending.

The special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, retired Marine Gen. Arnold Fields, in what may be his final public event before he retires next month, painted a starkly pessimistic picture of what lies ahead in Afghanistan.

The build-up of the Afghanistan army and police is a key element in the Obama administration's plans to withdraw U.S. forces by the end of 2014. But Fields told the Commission on Wartime Contracting that the build-up is at risk.

"The United States lacks a comprehensive plan for building ANA (Afghan National Army) and ANP (Afghan National Police) facilities," Fields said. "The projects audited to date have been seriously behind schedule."

And Fields said it is not clear how Afghanistan will be able to sustain the big police and army building projects - such as barracks and training bases - once U.S. Forces withdraw.

"These issues place the entire U.S. investment of $11.4 billion in ANSF (Afghan National Security Forces) facilities construction at risk of not meeting Afghan needs or intended purposes and resulting in a large degree of waste," Fields said in his prepared statement to the commission.

Members of Congress repeatedly have criticized Fields for not being more aggressive in watching over the more than $56 billion in Afghanistan reconstruction. He has said it took time to establish his watchdog agency in 2008 and oversight in a war zone is difficult and dangerous.

Fields admitted that American taxpayers are "wary" of the U.S. investment in Afghanistan.

He said the U.S. plan calls for 884 projects for Afghanistan army and police to be completed by the end of fiscal year 2012. But Fields said only 133 are completed, 78 are under construction and 673 have not been started.

soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. thecomedian

    LOSING MONEY??????.......this is worse than I thought

    February 5, 2011 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
  2. Rear Admiral Vic Beck

    We very much respect the leadership, views and effort on the part of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, retired Marine Major General Arnold Fields, though there are a couple of items in the reporting that need to be clarified. First, we do not expect to finish all the construction projects until 2014. Many of the projects will not be funded until the start of 2012, and will begin construction in 2013, with expected completion by late 2014. Second, we do have a plan to accommodate, both on a temporary and permanent basis, the growth of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). Our plan for temporary facilities allows us to continue our progress towards transition of security from international forces to ANSF while we build permanent facilities.

    In January 2010, the international community decided to grow the ANSF to 305,600. We are fielding those forces, but we are only now starting the build of long-term structures and facilities. As part of the plan for such growth, we have also provisioned for not only maintenance and repair, but for training Afghan facility engineers as well. We recognize that sustainability will be challenging, but we have put measures in place to reinforce Afghan stewardship of these important investments.

    Rear Admiral Vic Beck
    Director, Public Affairs
    International Security Assistance Force, Afghanistan

    January 25, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan in Lafayette,IN

      Thank you Rear Admiral Vic Beck for your reassurance of our abilities in this mission.

      January 25, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dan in Lafayette,IN

        Sorry folks,I never posted the above. Some jerk is trying to make a fool out of me.

        January 25, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |

    This is an ultimate reality that America is paying for wrong assessments of Afghanistan. The longer they stay the most they will suffer. This is a result of deviation from true American values which RANDY has well explained, even appreciated by the man with multiple faces like DAN. Obama is not being allowed to change America but soon Americans will rise to change America when they will see the real faces of MIC, Corporatocracy, and Pentagon in Afghanistan. These billions of dollars of American tax payers have not been or are not being spent on the reconstruction or rehabilitation of Afghanistan but rather half of it is spent on bombing and killing of Afghans while half directly goes to the pockets of contractors, MIC and military Generals. Americans as a nation in return earn hate through this hard earned money. NOW DAN you asses is this wise decision in any way and if not then why you insist on this self destruction?

    January 25, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |


    January 25, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dan in Lafayette,IN

    The place would again become the devil's playground!

    January 25, 2011 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
  6. Randy

    Afganistan is a rat hole. We have no business wasting our money over there. Our government's priorities are wrong. Now they want to cut back on Social Security and Medicare and why? So they can waste more by pouring our tax money down a rat hole like Afganistan? We have not fought a credible war on drugs here in the United States. We wasted a huge amount of money in Iraq. And what for? Sadaam's weapons of mass destruction? Viet Nam did not teach us anything? Former president Eisenhower warned about a "military industrial complex." Now the "praise the Lord and pass the amunition" wierdos reign. Even Obama who promised "change we can believe" has fallen for the extremist conservative ideas hook line and sinker. When are we going to come to our senses?

    January 24, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Carole Clarke

    What do you expect? It will take at least 3 generations of the advanced western culture for those people to catch up and by all accounts they don't want to! The British tried it and so did the Russians – no luck. If catching up means they have to leave behind most of their culture then they won't do it. Blackberrys and IPODS would probably go down good since they are so portable but that's it. Replace the bridges and clear the tunnels and passes. Perhaps a regular rail line but they don't want the rest of it.

    January 24, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |