Drawdown to impede project oversight: SIGAR
WASHINGTON (PAN): The scheduled drawdown of US troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 would make difficult monitoring of the progress of projects in the country, a top American inspector general said on Monday.
No more than 21 percent of Afghanistan would be accessible to US civilian oversight personnel by the end of security transition, a 47 percent decrease since 2009, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said.
In fact, the watchdog is unable to visit infrastructure projects in northern Afghanistan valued at $72 million because they were located in areas that could not be reached by US civilian employees, SIGAR John Sopko wrote in letter to the secretary of state.
“SIGAR is referring to these inaccessible reconstruction sites as areas outside of the oversight bubbles. The areas covered by these oversight bubbles are defined by the ability of the US government to provide both adequate security and rapid emergency medical support to civilian employees traveling to the area,” he argued.
Sopko said: “It is clear that everyone working in Afghanistan, including SIGAR, will struggle to continue providing direct US civilian oversight that is needed in Afghanistan. US military officials have told us they will provide civilian access only to areas within a one-hour round trip of an advanced medical facility.”
Also addressed to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and USAID Administrator Raj Shah, a copy of the letter was released to the press on Monday.
“Similarly, State Department officials have warned us that their ability to reach reconstruction sites will be extremely limited due to constraints on providing emergency medical support without assistance from the Department of Defense (DOD),” he wrote.
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