The U.S. government’s Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has released its quarterly report to Congress on the state of the war in Afghanistan and how money is being spent. Here are the key findings according to SIGAR:
- From March 1 through May 31, 2017, the UN recorded 6,252 security incidents, a 21% increase from last quarter.
- From January 1, 2017, through May 8, 2017, there were 2,531 ANDSF service members killed in action and an additional 4,238 wounded in action.
- SIGAR is concerned that U.S. officials, whether at State, USAID, Justice, Treasury, Commerce, or elsewhere, cannot oversee the billions of dollars the United States is dedicating to Afghan reconstruction if, for the most part, they cannot leave the U.S. embassy compound. Hunkering down behind blast walls damages not only the U.S. civilian mission but also handicaps the U.S. military mission.
- In the long run, such extreme risk aversion and avoidance may even contribute to greater insecurity, since it limits U.S. diplomatic reach to the very Afghans necessary to foster stability, rule of law, and economic growth, while sending an unintended but dangerous message to friend and foe alike that the terrorists should be feared and may actually be winning.
- As of May 15, 2017, the struggle between the Afghan government and insurgents remains a stalemate, with the number of districts and the portion of the population under Afghan government and insurgent control unchanged since last quarter’s February 15 assessment.
- USFOR-A reported 12,073 MOD personnel had been identified as “unaccounted for” in the Afghan Human Resources Information Management System (AHRIMS) as of May 11, 2017, some of whom could be ghosts.
- In the first six months of FY 1396 (which began December 22, 2016), Afghanistan’s domestic revenues declined nearly 25% year-on-year and covered about 40% of total government expenditures.
- The estimated value of opiates produced in Afghanistan increased to $3.02 billion in 2016 from $1.56 billion in 2015. The value of opiates is worth more than two-thirds of the country’s entire illicit agricultural sector.
- According to SIGAR analysis, the United States has obligated an estimated $714 billion for all spending-including war fighting and reconstruction-in Afghanistan over more than 15 years.