An “alert letter” to US Secretary of State and Pentagon US Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko said that the donors should include measurable and verifiable benchmarks with tangible outcomes, periodic reassessments of their programs and high-level political buy-in from all sides in their funding pledges.
“Afghan government tends to take meaningful action when donors are engaged and call for reforms to curb systemic corruption,” SIGAR said. “Corruption has substantially undermined the US mission in Afghanistan from the very beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom.”
Sopko said that previously SIGAR reported that corruption cuts across all aspects of the reconstruction effort, jeopardizing progress made in security, rule of law, governance, and economic growth.
“We are concerned that a failure to effectively address the problem of systemic corruption as the coalition presence shrinks, while the Afghan government continues to rely on donor assistance to protect the fragile gains of the 19-year mission, would mean that US reconstruction programs, at best, will continue to be subverted by systemic corruption and, at worst, will fail,” Sopko said in the letter.
SIGAR says the letter has sent to the US secretary of state and the Pentagon to alert them on the status of Afghanistan’s fight against corruption.
“As you know, corruption not only erodes Afghans’ trust in their government, but also compromises the ability of development interventions to yield their intended outcomes and undermines security by fueling insurgent and corrupt power structures,” SIGAR said in the letter.
The 2020 Afghanistan Conference is the last pledging conference of the Transformation Decade (2015-24), which aims to take the country towards self-reliance, and is expected to renew international community and Afghan commitments to the development and stability of Afghanistan up to 2024, said a statement by event organizers early October.
The main conference will take place on November 24, with side events to discuss key challenges and accomplishments for Afghanistan occurring the day before.