Afghanistan’s unsustainable future?

02/11/2012
A U.S. government watchdog has raised doubts about the ability of Afghan forces to maintain critical facilities and logistics networks beyond the NATO withdrawal in 2014.

In the report, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) declared that there will be an audit into the $230million (€180million) worth of repair parts, ordered for the Afghan army, but which have since gone missing. Inspectors found that of 500 shipping containers, 474 had gone astray.

The infrastructure, which has cost the U.S. government nearly $12 billion (€9.3billion), will be left in the hands of authorities and networks which suffer from serious problems of corruption and accountability. The report concludes that, "As a result, U.S. funds invested in the construction and maintenance ... are at risk of being wasted."

It added: "The Afghan government continues to face challenges that will likely prohibit it from being capable of fully sustaining Afghanistan National Security Forces facilities after the transition in 2014.” These challenges include, “a lack of sufficient numbers and quality of personnel, as well as undeveloped budgeting, procurement, and logistics systems."

Many critics have accused the NATO training mission of having neglected the skills required to preserve logistics networks which get food, fuel and ammunition to soldiers, having predominantly focused on forces’ combat readiness. SIGAR conceded that whilst NATO and the U.S. are now trying to correct this imbalance, the efforts may have started too late.

Original Photo Source: U.S. Army Photostream at Flickr.com