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U.S. Watchdog Says Recent Taliban Gains Threaten Costly Afghan Reconstruction

Afghan protesters shout slogans during a demonstration against Taliban militants and the kidnapping of civilians in a northern province, near the Eid Gah Mosque in Kabul, on June 2.

The U.S. government’s top watchdog on Afghanistan says the United States has wasted billions of dollars in reconstruction aid to Afghanistan during the past decade -- and renewed Taliban militancy now threatens the gains that were made.

John Sopko, the special inspector-general for Afghanistan reconstruction (SIGAR), told Reuters on June 9 that “too much money was spent in too small a country with too little oversight.”

Sopko also said: “If the security situation continues to deteriorate, even areas where money was spent wisely and gains were made could be jeopardized."

A series of reports by SIGAR conclude that nearly $113 billion appropriated by the U.S. Congress for Afghan reconstruction since 2001 has been plagued by corruption, waste, and mismanagement.

Appointed by President Barack Obama nearly four years ago, Sopko also said the planned drawdown of U.S. troops from Afghanistan could exacerbate the problems with reconstruction aid and add to the amounts already wasted.

Based on reporting by Reuters