Audit faults Iraq reconstruction

Oct. 31, 2006 at 4:27 PM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- A report on the U.S. effort to train provincial governments in Iraq blames the feud between the State and Defense departments for lack of progress.

The "provincial reconstruction teams" are a key part of the Bush administration effort to make Iraq self-governing. They are supposed to train Iraqi officials on how to deliver services and to take over government functions like running elections.

But the audit by the special inspector general for Iraqi reconstruction found that one year after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice inaugurated the first one few of the teams are effective, the Boston Globe reported. The audit examined teams in 13 provinces and found only four functioning as they are supposed to.

Civilian state department employees are unwilling to get involved, leaving only 60 percent of positions filled, the audit said. Security problems mean that much of the work has been done by phone and e-mail.

Funding has also been inconsistent, and the State and Defense departments cannot agree on which should pay for them and which should provide security.

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