September 9th, 2011
09:36 AM ET

Report: Billions spent in Afghanistan with little knowledge of costs

Billions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer funds are being spent to send diplomats and other civilians to Afghanistan without proper understanding of how the money is spent and how expenses may keep going up, a new report concludes.

"No agency has comprehensively assessed the cost of establishing and sustaining the civilian uplift or the mechanisms in place to ensure uplift funds are used appropriately," the report said, pointing out that most of the civilians and the expenses are part of the State Department. "Uplift" is a government term for bringing more civilians into the war zone.

"State had neither established formal mechanisms with other agencies regarding their use of civilian uplift funds nor monitored how agencies spent funds and instead relied on informal communications such as emails and meetings," the report said. "As a result, this increased the risk that funds would not be spent for their intended purpose."

The report was a joint effort by the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction (SIGAR) and the State Department inspector general.

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