U.S. strategy in Afghanistan questioned

July 30, 2012 at 3:39 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 30 (UPI) -- A report by a special inspector general for Afghanistan said Monday the billions of U.S. dollars invested in Afghanistan's infrastructure could be lost.

The report to Congress by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction said construction projects are running way behind schedule and it is questionable whether the Afghan government will have the wherewithal to maintain them once U.S. forces leave.

The United States has spent $90 billion on Afghan reconstruction in the last decade, The Washington Post reported.

"Implementing projects that the Afghan government is unable to sustain may be counter­productive," the report said. "If goals are set and not achieved, both the U.S. and Afghan governments can lose the populace's support."

The Post said the report questions the basic strategy to counter the Taliban: that improving the infrastructure can help turn the loyalty of the populace toward the Kabul government. The report said the massive infusion of U.S. spending actually may be making the situation worse.

The Pentagon called the critique premature and the U.S. Embassy in Kabul said it was "speculative," adding the large-scale projects show U.S. "commitment to Afghanistan."

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., told the Post the report casts doubt on U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.

"There's no data that shows these major projects have changed the security environment in the country," she said. "We cannot just throw money at a country like this and expect it to have a good ending."

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