US military shares SIGAR concerns
KABUL (PAN): The US military and the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan (CSTC-A) on Wednesday shared the Special Inspector General of Afghanistan Reconstruction’s concerns regarding the living conditions of Afghan police personnel at a remote district deadquarters in the Dasht-i-Archi district of Kunduz province.
CSTC-A admitted the need to ensure US funds provided to the Afghan Ministry of Interior for operation and maintenance (O&M) of police facilities were appropriately used to address critical priorities, especially those relating to life and health safety.
It also recognised the Afghan government was progressively working to overcome the challenges faced by any administration in its infancy. The developing Afghan process for addressing O&M issues had deficiencies, particularly at remote and small locations, it acknowledged.
The shortcomings include lack of formal personnel structure facility maintenance staff, lack of staff knowledgeable in the submission of O&M issues, a shortage of staff training in the oversight of contracts and lack of good communication between remote sites up the chain of command to MoI Facilities Department.
A statement from the military said the CSTC-A and MoI had been working to address the shortcomings identified by SIGAR. At the recommendation of Ministerial Development Advisors earlier this year, the Afghans held a series of regional shuras across the country.
These shuras, the first of their kind, are attended by facilities maintenance staff from provinces throughout a region together with MoI Facilities Department leadership. The key objective of the shuras is to bridge the gap between the leadership in Kabul and their subordinate units.
“This and other MoI efforts are closing the communication gap that previously prevented the MoI Facilities Department leadership from having knowledge of the problems. The shuras now provide the opportunity for the local and regional police leaders to voice their issues to MoI, and therefore represent a significant advance in communicating problems outside of the Kabul area to the MoI.
As of October 30, 2013, such shuras have been held in five regions with two additional shuras scheduled by the end of 2013.
In late September, CSTC-A and MOI also initiated an effort called the “Rapid Improvement Event,” which is designed to improve methodologies used to prioritize requirements for facilities maintenance and sustainment issues.
One goal of CSTC-A is to assist the MoI in the development of equipment and infrastructure sustainment capabilities and performance, including identifying, reporting, prioritizing, and responding to maintenance needs such as the living conditions identified by SIGAR at the Archi ANP facility.
“USFOR-A remains committed to being a good steward of resources while ensuring our Afghan partners have the resources they need to sustain achievements in security and stability for the people of Afghanistan,” the statement said.
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