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    Watchdog alleges rampant waste in AIF

    WASHINGTON (PAN): A United States watchdog on Monday alleged widespread waste in the Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund (AIF).

    A quarterly report to the Congress by the Special Inspector General found the ways in which AIF funded infrastructure projects in Afghanistan that were totally or partly unsustainable by the government in Kabul. The report concluded that the projects might not be aiding the military’s counterinsurgency efforts.

    It revealed the US government’s efforts to execute large-scale energy sector projects in Afghanistan had frequently resulted in cost and schedule over-runs, contractor default, questionable or undefined sustainment methods and wasted American dollars.

    “The Deputy Minister of Public Works (in Afghanistan) recommended that the US government stop building roads because the Afghan government is unable to maintain the current road network,” the document added.

    “In its report to Congress on implementation of AIP for fiscal year 2011, Department of Defense, in coordination with state, only reported on projects funded through AIF, thereby limiting congressional oversight of key infrastructure projects in Afghanistan,” said the report.

    Late last year, Senator McCaskill introduced legislation stripping funds for large-scale construction projects in Afghanistan and redirecting those resources -- at least $800 million -- for use in the construction of roads and bridges in America.

    In March, McCaskill told military commanders at a Senate hearing that she believed in the ability of the US military to build infrastructure in Afghanistan but the Afghan government could not sustain the projects.

    Monday’s report is the first issued by new Special Inspector General John Sopko, who was appointed in May 2012.

    vp/mud