The U.S. is unsure how well Afghanistan’s national intelligence service is performing despite spending nearly half a billion taxpayer dollars since 2010, the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) revealed Monday.
Despite the large financial investment in the Afghan National Security Force’s (ANSF) intelligence capabilities the U.S. never developed adequate performance metrics to measure their progress. “Because of a lack of performance metrics … and a reliance on contractor-provided data for the ASOM program, it is almost impossible to gauge the government’s return on investment for the $457.7 million spent,” the report declares.
SIGAR also “found that significant portions of other groups of ANDSF intelligence trainers and instructors failed to meet the minimally established training requirements.” SIGAR’s findings are typical of many U.S. projects in Afghanistan, which spent exorbitant amounts of taxpayer dollars with little ability to track their efficacy.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis issued a stark warning to senior Pentagon officials about prudently spending taxpayer funds in a late July memo saying “cavalier or casually acquiescent decisions to spend taxpayer dollars in an ineffective and wasteful manner are not to recur.”
“I expect all DoD organizations to use this error as a catalyst to bring to light wasteful practices — and take aggressive steps to end waste in our Department,” he continued.
Mattis’s memo came after a previous SIGAR report detailing how the U.S. military spent $28 million on ineffective camouflage uniforms for ANSF. The U.S. reportedly purchased the uniforms in consultation with ANSF who requested “forest” camouflage despite the fact that wooded areas cover only 2.1% of the country’s total land mass.
“Neither DOD nor the Afghan government could demonstrate the appropriateness of the ANA [Afghan National Army] uniform for the Afghan environment, or show that the new camouflage pattern did not hinder ANA operations by providing a more clearly visible target to the enemy,” the report found.
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