Afghanistan Reconstruction: GAO Work since 2002 Shows Systemic Internal Control Weaknesses that Increased the Risk of Waste, Fraud, and Abuse
The U.S. government has spent about $141 billion on reconstruction in Afghanistan since 2002. We've reported on issues that could increase the risk of waste, fraud, or abuse of these funds.
For instance, USAID worked to improve Afghanistan's public financial management in order to transition leadership to the Afghan government—but the lack of baselines, performance targets, and data made it difficult to assess the success of those efforts. Reduced monitoring of these projects due to security concerns heightened the risk of fraud, waste, and mismanagement.
USAID and other agencies have addressed most of our recommendations related to this work.
What GAO Found
GAO's body of work on Afghanistan reconstruction from 2002 through 2020 identified systemic weaknesses in human resources, monitoring, contracting, information quality, coordination, and other management areas where internal control issues could increase the risk of waste, fraud, and abuse. These systemic weaknesses cut across multiple sectors of reconstruction activities, such as security, roads and infrastructure, and agriculture. Fifty GAO reports on Afghanistan reconstruction discussed such weaknesses and explicitly or implicitly referred to an increased risk of waste, fraud, or abuse as a result of the weaknesses. GAO made 154 recommendations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, of which 134, or 87 percent, were implemented.
Why GAO Did This Study
The U.S. government has allocated approximately $141 billion for reconstruction in Afghanistan since 2002. Since that time, GAO has issued roughly 100 reports covering U.S.-funded reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. GAO was asked to report on waste, fraud, and abuse that GAO had uncovered with respect to U.S. reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. This report summarizes the systemic internal control weaknesses that increased the risk of waste, fraud, and abuse related to Afghanistan reconstruction that were identified in prior GAO work.
GAO made 154 recommendations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, of which 134, or 87 percent, were implemented.