WASHINGTON, DC — Up to half of the estimated $126 billion in U.S. taxpayer funds devoted to nation-building efforts in Afghanistan are “misspent, mismanaged, or disappears entirely,” a top staffer from Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) office testified this week.
During a Senate panel hearing on U.S. spending in Afghanistan, Sergio Gor, Sen. Paul’s deputy chief of staff, indicated in written testimony that between 20 and 50 percent of U.S. reconstruction funding in Afghanistan “goes to corruption, waste, fraud, and abuse.”
John Sopko, the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), who also testified before the Senate panel on Wednesday, noted in his written remarks that there are different components to America’s nation-building activities, including:
Rebuilding Afghanistan’s national security forces, promoting the rule of law, fighting widespread corruption and the narcotics trade, improving public health and education, promoting respect for human rights, expanding electric and transportation infrastructure, and furthering economic development.
Sopko revealed that, in addition to the $126 billion devoted to reconstruction operation, the United States had spent about $750 billion on the American military offensive alone since the war started in October 2001, for an overall total “approaching $900 billion.”
The high-ranking staffer from the office of Sen. Paul, a staunch critic of the waste associated with the Afghanistan war effort, added:
The United States needs to lessen our aid dramatically to Afghanistan. So much of our aid is lost to waste, fraud, abuse, and corruption. Some estimate that as much as 50% of our money is misspent, mismanaged, or disappears entirely. According to recent testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the United States’ involvement in Afghanistan will cost taxpayers a whopping $45 billion in 2018.