New SIGAR Report Finds Billions of Taxpayer Dollars Went to Unused or Underutilized Reconstruction Projects in Afghanistan
Washington, D.C. (Mar. 1, 2021)—Today, Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, issued the following statement in response to a new report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) detailing how billions of dollars Congress appropriated for reconstruction projects in Afghanistan were used:
“Today’s report from the Special Inspector General demonstrates that the United States has spent billions of taxpayer dollars on reconstruction projects that were either not needed or unwanted by the Afghan Government. Similarly, many of the capital assets provided to the Afghan Government have already fallen into disrepair or have rapidly deteriorated due to the inability of the Afghan beneficiaries to maintain those assets.
“While I believe that targeted humanitarian relief and construction assistance for Afghanistan was and is warranted, this SIGAR Report exposes serious gaps in planning and contract execution and provides guidance on how U.S.-taxpayer resources must be more wisely and carefully allocated to ensure they do not go to waste.”
On September 27, 2019, Chairman Lynch asked SIGAR to conduct a review of facilities in Afghanistan that were constructed, financed, or subsidized with U.S. taxpayer funds, and evaluate whether these facilities were being used as intended.
The SIGAR report released today found that among facilities and assets it had previously reviewed, $2.4 billion in U.S.-funded projects in Afghanistan “were unused or abandoned, had not been used for their intended purposes, had deteriorated, or were destroyed.”
SIGAR also conducted follow-up inspections of 60 U.S.-funded capital assets in Afghanistan. According to SIGAR, “Although our follow-up inspections found that most assets were being used as intended, when evaluated by cost, we found that $723.8 million (or 91 percent of the total costs of all 60 assets in our sample) went toward assets that were unused or abandoned, were not used as intended, had deteriorated, were destroyed, or some combination of the above.”
Chairman Lynch also announced that on Tuesday, March 16, 2021, at 11:00 a.m., the Subcommittee on National Security will hold a hearing to examine areas of U.S. reconstruction activity that SIGAR has deemed high-risk and vulnerable to waste, fraud, and abuse.
“I am grateful to my colleague, Special Inspector General John Sopko and his staff for their courageous work,” added Subcommittee Chairman Lynch. “As Congress weighs next steps, it should be noted that the research and investigations that underpin this Report were conducted, in part, in the midst of widespread insurgent violence while enduring a raging pandemic. Our Subcommittee values the sacrifice necessary to provide the information contained in this Report, and we look forward to actively examining these matters at our hearing with Mr. Sopko next week.”
Click here to read the report.