The collapse of Afghanistan follows an expensive and error-filled US reconstruction effort: Watchdog

The collapse of the Afghan government followed a false US mission to rebuild the country after the invasion in 2001, shortly after 9/11, Watchdog said Tuesday.

“If the goal was to rebuild and leave behind a country that is self-reliant and poses little threat to US national security interests,” said John Sopco, Special Inspector General for Reconstruction of Afghanistan (SIGAR). The big picture is dark. ” 140-page report (pdf).

Sopko’s team conducted more than 760 interviews, reviewed thousands of government documents, and produced reports as part of a series of operations, including criminal investigations that led to more than 160 convictions.

Since the US military landed in October 2001, the United States has spent $ 145 billion rebuilding Afghanistan and its institutions, and the Pentagon has spent another $ 738 billion on the war in Afghanistan.

US goals included the elimination of al-Qaeda, the destruction of the Taliban, the establishment of Afghan security forces, and support for the legalization of the civilian government. But apart from some areas of improvement, such as raising education rates, “overall progress is elusive and the prospects for sustaining this progress are questionable,” Sopco said.

President Joe Biden ordered the complete withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan this year. When the troops withdrew this month, the Taliban rapidly occupied important parts of the country. Terrorist groups occupied Kabul’s presidential palace over the weekend and declared Afghanistan the Islamic Emirate.

US leaders were surprised by hijacking in a hurry to evacuate the US embassies in Kabul and Afghanistan, which supported the United States during the 20-year war.

Biden appeared on Monday, defending his decision and blaming many others, including former President Donald Trump, who began withdrawing. “This unfolded faster than we expected,” he said in a short speech in Washington.

Failed withdrawals are part of the pattern, as reported by SIGAR. For example, the United States said, “The government has consistently underestimated the time needed to rebuild Afghanistan, creating unrealistic schedules and expectations that prioritize rapid spending.” It led to increased corruption and undermined the effectiveness of various programs.

“The US government did not understand the situation in Afghanistan and could not adjust its efforts accordingly,” Sopco said.

“We lacked a basic understanding of Afghanistan,” Douglas Route, who coordinated Afghanistan’s strategy at the National Security Council from 2007 to 2013, told SIGAR. “We didn’t know what we were doing.”

Similar problems plagued US reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Vietnam, but it did not prevent US authorities from continuing to pursue them, SIGAR said. He cited small-scale efforts currently underway in Mali, Burkina Faso, Somalia, Yemen and Ukraine.

“We don’t have a working post-conflict stabilization model. Every time we have one of these, it’s a pick-up game. Stephen, National Security Adviser during the George W. Bush administration. Hadley told SIGAR.

The White House did not respond to requests for comment on the report.

SIGAR was created by Congress to monitor US efforts in Afghanistan.

Zachary Stieber

Zachary Stieber covers US news, including politics and proceedings. He started in The Epoch Times as a metro reporter for New York City.