In its recent quarterly report, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has indicated ‘waste, fraud, and abuse’ of over $15 billion during Afghanistan’s reconstruction efforts. The report further reveals that the Afghan government is also refusing to deal with corruption, warning that it is “business as usual” in the country.
The Key Points of the report are as follows:
— SIGAR shares donor concerns that the Afghan government may be going back to “business as usual” and simply “checking the box” when it comes to fighting corruption.
— As of March, DOJ views the situation in Afghanistan as “consistent with a largely lawless, weak, and dysfunctional government” with many corruption cases languishing due to the lack of political will – rather than the capacity – of the Afghan government.
— According to Afghan-reported force-strength data, the ANDSF may have increased in size since last quarter to 314,242 personnel, but the force has lost 8,500 personnel since April 2017, and 5,353 since April 2016. The ANDSF is currently at only 89.3 percent of its goal strength (352,000), being short 37,758 personnel.
— As of May 15, the ANDSF failed to improve its control over Afghanistan’s districts, population, and territory since last quarter: instead, district and territorial control became slightly more contested between the government and the insurgency.
— Since SIGAR began receiving district-control data in November 2015, Afghan government control and influence over its districts has declined by about 16 percentage points; contested districts have increased by nine points; and insurgent control or influence has risen by nearly seven points.
— According to DOJ, the Afghan attorney general has failed to respond to personal appeals made by several senior U.S. government officials to prosecute stalled high-profile corruption cases to show that no one was above the law. Despite these appeals, DOJ says the attorney general continues to have a poor record of prosecuting powerful and influential corrupt actors.
— DOJ observed that the MOI has failed to execute lawful warrants issued by the prosecutors, despite being legally obligated to do so and stated that the problem of powerful and corrupt actors ignoring warrants is so severe that it has undermined the fundamental legitimacy and authority of the ACJC.
— SIGAR analysis found that when the ACJC appellate court chose to impose a sentence different than that of the ACJC primary court, the sentences were reduced 89 percent of the time. Appeals from the ACJC appellate court to the Supreme Court enjoyed more deferential treatment. Where the Supreme Court chose to impose a different sentence, it was just as likely to increase a sentence as to reduce it.
— Insurgent control or influence of Afghanistan’s districts declined for the first time since August 2016: there were 56 districts under insurgent control (11) or influence (45), a decrease of three districts since last quarter.
— USFOR-A reports there have been no confirmed civilian casualties from the counter-revenue strikes since Iron Tempest began. As the campaign continues, it risks fomenting discontent towards the Afghan government if strikes are perceived as targeting civilians or ineffective at disrupting the insurgents’ source of revenue.
— USFOR-A classified ANDSF, MOD, and MOI performance assessments this quarter, a reversal from the preceding two quarters, when basic performance assessments were provided.
— Combining UNODC data with RS data shows that poppy cultivation flourishes in Afghanistan under both insurgent and government control. SIGAR’s analysis challenges the general assumption that insurgents control the highest poppy-cultivating areas or that poppy is predominantly grown in areas with insurgent activity.
— According to a recent UN report, two-thirds of Afghanistan’s provinces are experiencing a drought due to a precipitation deficit of 70 percent in recent months. USAID has told SIGAR that precipitation and snowpack levels have been so low that, in many areas, the current rain-fed winter wheat crop has been effectively lost. The UN estimates that, over the next six months, more than two million people will face severe food insecurity and will be in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.
— UNAMA reports that access to polio vaccines remains a major concern in Afghanistan and that the number of children who were inaccessible to vaccination workers has grown rapidly in recent months, rising from 60,000 inaccessible children in February to more than half a million in May.
Full Quarterly Report: https://www.sigar.mil/pdf/quarterlyreports/2018-07-30qr.pdf
Quarterly Report by Section: https://www.sigar.mil/quarterlyreports/index.aspx?SSR=6