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World

'Fraud, waste and abuse cost $19bn in Afghanistan'

IANS | October 22, 2020 11:55 AM

KABUL: Nearly $19 billion of US amount was lost in more than a decade of war in Afghanistan to fraud, waste and abuse, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction's (SIGAR) said in a new report.

As of December 2019, the US Congress appropriated nearly $134 billion since Fiscal Year 2002 for Afghanistan reconstruction. Of that amount, SIGAR reviewed approximately $63 billion and found that nearly $19 billion of amount reviewed was lost to waste, fraud, and abuse, the report said.

SIGAR identified approximately $1.8 billion in waste, fraud, and abuse between January 2018, and December 2019 in its 111 audits, inspections, and special projects reports, and in 55 closed investigations, Tolo news reported.

SIGAR's work through December 31, 2019, resulted in about $3.2 billion in savings for US taxpayers, the group claims.

Most of the losses were attributed to failed counternarcotics and stabilization programs, the report said in a report published Tuesday.

This report adds nearly $3.4 billion of waste, fraud, and abuse to the previously reported amount based on a review of SIGAR's published products and closed investigations. Of this total, SIGAR specifically identified approximately $1.5 billion in taxpayer funds that the group believe was wasted, $300 million that was lost to fraud, and $34 million that was lost due to abuse.

The remaining $1.6 billion was allocated to counternarcotics efforts and the group believes was wasted.

"More than $3 billion was lost in the past two years alone, " the report said.

And this was on top of "some $15.5 billion that was lost between 2009 and 2017, "representing nearly a third of all the expenditures SIGAR has reviewed in the years since it was created in 2008 to track US taxpayer dollars spent in Afghanistan, " the report said.

90 per cent of the losses were caused by waste, which the report defined as "the act of using or expending resources carelessly, extravagantly, or to no purpose."

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