Discussion with Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction on Challenges Facing the US
|Date||January 10, 2013|
Challenges Facing the US Reconstruction Effort in Afghanistan
Mr. John Sopko
Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction
Panel event moderated by
Ellen Laipson, Stimson Center President and CEO
In light of plans to transfer security responsibility for Afghanistan to its
government by the end of 2014, the United States has a two year window of
opportunity to overcome challenges presently facing its reconstruction
efforts. Many of those challenges have been identified by audits and
investigations conducted by the Office of the Special Inspector General for
Afghanistan Reconstruction. Most recently its contributions include
chronicling “persistent delays in instituting basic anti-money laundering
procedures” at the Kabul Airport, detailing the Afghanistan National Security
Forces’ difficulties in assuming responsibility for their operations and
maintenance costs, and auditing the US’ Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund in
response to schedule slips and inadequate sustainability plans.
Afghanistan’s struggles with insecurity and corruption are likely to continue well past the 2014 transition. Meanwhile the US has entered an era of fiscal austerity that will limit resources available to the Pentagon, State Department, and other government agencies involved in reconstruction. Sustainability has become one of the foremost issues for reconstruction investments as a consequence.
Mr. John Sopko’s address at the Stimson Center was his first on-the-record, public speech since taking office in July 2012, and he used it to comment on the factors that underpin these challenges. Ellen Laipson, Stimson’s President and CEO, moderated a panel discussion, adding some additional perspectives about reconstruction efforts.