oversight

John F. Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs: U.S. Lessons Learned in Afghanistan

Published by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction on 2020-01-15.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

        Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction




SIGAR
        Testimony
        Before the Committee on Foreign Affairs
        U.S. House of Representatives




        U.S. Lessons Learned in
        Afghanistan




        Statement of John F. Sopko,
        Special Inspector General
        for Afghanistan Reconstruction
        January 15, 2020
Chairman Engel, Ranking Member McCaul, Members of the Committee:

It is a pleasure and an honor to testify before you today. This is the 22nd time I have presented
testimony to Congress since I was appointed the Special Inspector General nearly eight years
ago. SIGAR was created by the Congress in 2008 to combat waste, fraud and abuse in the U.S.
reconstruction effort in Afghanistan. We are the only one of the 73 independent federal
inspectors general that is not housed within a larger government agency. We have the authority
to oversee any federal agency that has played a role in the Afghanistan reconstruction effort.

So far we have published nearly 600 audits, inspections, and other reports. SIGAR’s law
enforcement agents have conducted more than 1,000 criminal and civil investigations that have
led to more than 130 convictions of individuals who have committed crimes. Combined,
SIGAR’s audit, investigative, and other work has resulted in cost savings to the taxpayer of over
$3 billion.
Although I have testified numerous times before Congress, today is the first time that I have been
asked to directly address SIGAR’s unique Lessons Learned Program and what we have learned
from it and the rest of our work. In light of recent attention, I am particularly pleased to have this
opportunity to discuss some of our significant findings about the reconstruction efforts in what
has become our nation’s longest war. But before I talk about what our Lessons Learned Program
does, I want to clear up any misconceptions by defining what it does not do.


The Genesis and Purpose of the Lessons Learned Program
As with everything produced by SIGAR, the Lessons Learned Program’s mandate is limited to
the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Our Lessons Learned program is not and never was intended
to be a new version of the Pentagon Papers, or to turn snappy one-liners and quotes into
headlines or sound bites. We do not make broad assessments of U.S. diplomatic and military
strategies or warfighting; nor are we producing an oral history of the United States’ involvement
in Afghanistan. More important, our Lessons Learned Program does not address the broader
policy debate of whether or not our country should be in Afghanistan.

Our Lessons Learned Program produces unclassified, publically available, balanced, and
thoroughly researched appraisals of various aspects of U.S. reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan.
Unlike recent press reporting, it also makes actionable recommendations for the Congress and
executive branch agencies and, where appropriate, offers matters for consideration for the
Afghan government and our coalition allies.

Some may criticize us for using “dense bureaucratic prose” in our Lessons Learned reports, but
we are not trying to win a Pulitzer Prize. Rather, we are focused on conducting original research
and analysis aimed at providing an independent and objective examination of U.S. reconstruction
efforts in Afghanistan, and to make practical recommendations to Congress and the executive
branch agencies.


SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                  Page 2
Put simply, we are striving to distill something of lasting and useful significance from our 18
years of engagement in Afghanistan. Considering the over 2,300 American service members who
have died there and the $133 billion (and counting) taxpayer dollars spent on reconstruction
alone, it would be a dereliction of duty not to try to learn from this experience. With our unique
interagency jurisdiction, Congress gave SIGAR an extraordinary opportunity to do this work.

Moreover, the need is urgent: in Afghanistan, most military, embassy, and civilian personnel
rotate out of country after a year or less. This means that new people are constantly arriving, all
with the best of intentions, but with little or no knowledge of what their predecessors were doing,
the problems they faced, or what worked and what didn’t work. SIGAR’s Lessons Learned
Program is a unique source of institutional memory to help address this “annual lobotomy.”

Given this reality, it is understandably difficult for individual agencies to see the forest for the
trees—and even if they could, such efforts have a way of sinking into obscurity. For example,
shortly after I became the Inspector General, my staff uncovered a USAID-commissioned
lessons learned study from 1988 entitled “A Retrospective Review of U.S. Assistance to
Afghanistan: 1950 to 1979.” Many of the report’s lessons were still relevant and could have
made a real impact if they had been taken into account in the early 2000s. Unfortunately, we
could not find anyone at USAID or the Department of State who was even aware of the report’s
existence, let alone its findings.

The genesis of our Lessons Learned Program occurred almost as soon as I was appointed
Inspector General in 2012. Early in my tenure, it became apparent that the problems we were
finding in our audits and inspections—whether it was poorly constructed infrastructure, rampant
corruption, inadequately trained Afghan soldiers, or a growing narcotics economy—elicited the
same basic response from members of Congress, agency officials, and policymakers alike.
“What does it mean?” they would ask me. “What can we learn from this?”

In an attempt to answer these questions, and to make our audits and other reports more relevant
to policymakers in Washington and our military and civilian staff in Afghanistan, I asked my
staff in 2013 to develop a series of guiding queries aimed at helping Congress and the
Administration improve reconstruction operations. These questions—SIGAR’s first attempt to
develop lessons from the U.S. reconstruction effort—were incorporated by Congress in the
National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2015 as a requirement for initiating
infrastructure projects in areas of Afghanistan inaccessible to U.S. government personnel. They
continue to inform our work:
     •   Does the project or program clearly contribute to our national interests or strategic
         objectives?
     •   Does the recipient country want it or need it?




SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                   Page 3
     •   Has the project been coordinated with other U.S. agencies, with the recipient
         government, and with other international donors?
     •   Do security conditions permit effective implementation and oversight?
     •   Does the project have adequate safeguards to detect, deter, and mitigate corruption?
     •   Does the recipient government have the financial resources, technical capacity, and
         political will to sustain the project?
     •   Have implementing agencies established meaningful, measurable metrics for
         determining successful project outcomes?
These questions were useful, and they remain relevant. But the agencies named in our reports
complained that we were too critical. Our reports failed to put their efforts in context, they said,
and therefore we were not acknowledging their successes. Accordingly, on March 25, 2013, I
sent letters to the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the Administrator of the U.S.
Agency for International Development, asking them to each provide me with a list of their
agency’s ten most successful Afghanistan reconstruction projects and programs, as well as a list
of the ten least successful, along with a detailed explanation of how these projects and programs
were evaluated and the specific criteria used for each.

The answers we received from the agencies were informative, but—as you can see from
Appendix I—they failed to list or discuss each agency’s 10 most and 10 least successful projects
or programs. As my letter of July 5, 2013 noted, this failure limited our understanding of how
government agencies evaluated and perceived both success and failure, which was critical for
formulating lessons learned from past reconstruction projects and programs.

It is perhaps understandable that agencies would want to show their programs in the best possible
light—and it is certainly understandable that the private firms, nongovernmental organizations,
and multilateral institutions that implemented those programs would want to demonstrate
success. Yet a recurring challenge to any accurate assessment has been the pervasive tendency to
overstate positive results, with little, if any, evidence to back up those claims.

Unfortunately, many of the claims that State, USAID, and others have made over time simply do
not stand up to scrutiny. For example, in a 2014 agency newsletter, the then-USAID
administrator stated that “today, 3 million girls and 5 million boys are enrolled in school—
compared to just 900,000 when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan.” But when SIGAR subsequently
conducted an audit of U.S. efforts to support primary and secondary education in Afghanistan,
we found that USAID was receiving its enrollment data from the Afghan government and had
taken few, if any, steps to attempt to verify the data’s accuracy, even though independent third
parties and even the Afghan Ministry of Education had called the numbers into question. And
because USAID education support programs lacked effective metrics, it could not show how
U.S. taxpayer dollars had contributed to the increased enrollment it claimed.


SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                 Page 4
In that same agency newsletter, the then-USAID administrator said that since the fall of the
Taliban, “child mortality has been cut [in Afghanistan] by 60 percent, maternal mortality has
declined by 80 percent, and access to health services has been increased by 90 percent. As a
result, Afghanistan has experienced the largest increase in life expectancy and the largest
decreases in maternal and child deaths of any country in the world.” However, when SIGAR
issued an audit of Afghanistan’s health sector in 2017, we found that while USAID publicly
reported a 22-year increase in Afghan life expectancy from 2002 to 2010, USAID did not
disclose that the baseline it used for comparison came from a World Health Organization (WHO)
report that could only make an estimate because of limited data. A later WHO report showed
only a 6-year increase in Afghan life expectancy for males and an 8-year increase for females
between 2002 and 2010—a far cry from the 22 years that USAID claimed. As for the maternal
mortality claims, SIGAR’s audit found that USAID’s 2002 baseline data was from a survey that
was conducted in only four of Afghanistan’s then-360 districts.

Likewise, a SIGAR audit into U.S. government programs to assist women in Afghanistan found
that “although the Department of Defense, Department of State, and USAID reported gains and
improvements in the status of Afghan women . . . SIGAR found that there was no comprehensive
assessment available to confirm that these gains were the direct result of specific U.S. efforts.”
And while State and USAID collectively reported spending $850 million on 17 projects that
were designed in whole or in part to support Afghan women, they could not tell our auditors how
much of that money actually went to programs that supported Afghan women.

Another SIGAR audit looked into the more than $1 billion that the United States had spent
supporting rule-of-law programs in Afghanistan. Shockingly, we found that the U.S. actually
seemed to be moving backwards as time went along. Our audit found that while the 2009 U.S.
rule-of-law strategy for Afghanistan contained 27 specific performance measures, the 2013
strategy contained no performance measures at all. If you have no metrics for success, how can
you tell if you’re succeeding?

While honesty and transparency are always important, when government agencies overstate the
positive and overlook flaws in their methodologies or accountability mechanisms, it has real
public policy implications. The American people and their elected representatives eventually
start asking why, if things are going so well, are we still there? Why do we continue to spend so
much money? While it may not be as headline-worthy, in the long run, honesty gives a
development undertaking a far better chance at success: People can understand it will take time,
patience, and continued effort to make a real difference. If there was no SIGAR, one may
wonder how many of these discrepancies would have ever come to light.

In some ways, I would argue that the agencies’ reluctance to list their successes and failures is
understandable. As the old saying goes, success has many parents, but failure is an orphan.
Nowhere is this more true than in Afghanistan, where success is fleeting and failure is common.
That is all the more reason why it is crucial to be honest with ourselves and to recognize that not


SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                Page 5
everything is successful. In other words, for honest analysis, failure may be an orphan, but it also
can be a great teacher.

It was in response to this refusal by the agencies to be candid about their successes and failures,
and at the suggestion of a number of prominent officials, including Ambassador Ryan Crocker
and General John Allen, that SIGAR formally launched its Lessons Learned Program in 2014,
with the blessing of the National Security Council staff. The Lessons Learned Program’s
mandate is to:

      •   Show what has and has not worked over the course of the U.S. reconstruction experience
          in Afghanistan
      •   Offer detailed and actionable recommendations to policymakers and executive agencies
          that are relevant to current and future reconstruction efforts
      •   Present unbiased, fact-based, and accessible reports to the public and key stakeholders
      •   Respond to the needs of U.S. implementing agencies, both in terms of accurately
          capturing their efforts and providing timely and actionable guidance for future efforts
      •   Share our findings with policymakers, senior executive branch officials, members of the
          Congress, and their staffs
      •   Provide subject matter expertise to SIGAR senior leaders and other SIGAR directorates
      •   Share our findings in conferences and workshops convened by U.S. government
          agencies, foreign governments, international organizations, NGOs, think tanks, and
          academic institutions

By doing so, SIGAR’s Lessons Learned Program also fulfills our statutory obligation, set forth in
the very first section of our authorizing statute, “to provide . . . recommendations on policies
designed to promote economy, efficiency, and effectiveness [of reconstruction programs in
Afghanistan] and to prevent and detect waste, fraud, and abuse in such programs and
operations.” SIGAR is also required to inform the Secretaries of State and Defense about
“problems and deficiencies relating to the administration of such programs and operations and
the necessity for and progress on corrective action.” 1 In addition, the Inspector General Act
authorizes SIGAR “to make such investigations and reports . . . as are, in the judgment of the
Inspector General, necessary or desirable.” 2


How SIGAR’s Lessons Learned Program Works
The Lessons Learned team is composed of subject-matter experts with considerable experience
working and living in Afghanistan, as well as a staff of experienced research analysts. Our

1 National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008, Pub. Law No. 112-181 (Jan. 28, 2008), § 1229(a)(2). A
similar mandate that applies to all inspectors general is contained in Section 2 of the Inspector General Act of
1978, as amended. See 5 U.S.C. App. 3, § 2
2   Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended, § 6(a)(2), 5 U.S.C. App. § 6(a)(2).


SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                            Page 6
analysts come from a variety of backgrounds: some have served in the U.S. military, while others
have worked at State, USAID, in the intelligence community, with other federal agencies, or
with implementing partners or policy research groups.

As the program was starting in 2014, our Lessons Learned team consulted with a range of
experts and current and former U.S. officials to determine what topics we should first explore.
We decided to focus on two areas of the reconstruction effort that had the largest price tags:
building the Afghan security forces (now more than $70 billion) and counternarcotics (now
about $9 billion). We also chose to examine a crosscutting problem that SIGAR already had
plenty of experience in uncovering, and which senior officials consistently urged us to tackle:
corruption and its corrosive effects on the entire U.S. mission. The fourth topic was private
sector development and economic growth—because we know that a stronger Afghan economy is
necessary to lasting peace and stability, and without it, U.S. reconstruction efforts are largely
unsustainable.

The topics of other reports have sometimes flowed logically from previous reports. For instance,
our 2019 investigation of the tangled military chain of command, Divided Responsibility, had its
origin in what we had learned two years earlier in our report on reconstructing the Afghan
security and national defense forces. Other report topics come from brainstorming sessions with
groups of subject matter experts and information my staff and I glean from our frequent trips to
Afghanistan. For example, our latest lessons learned report, on reintegration of enemy
combatants, as well as our soon-to-be-released report on elections, were specifically suggested
by the prior Resolute Support commander and the outgoing U.S. Ambassador in Afghanistan.

SIGAR’s lessons learned reports are not drawn from merely anecdotal evidence or based solely
on our personal areas of expertise. Our Lessons Learned Program staff has access to the largest
single source of information and expertise on Afghanistan reconstruction—namely, the
information and expertise provided by other SIGAR departments: our Audits and Inspections
Directorate, Investigations Directorate, the Office of Special Projects, and our Research and
Analysis Directorate (RAD). For example, RAD is responsible for compiling the quarterly
reports we are required by law to submit to Congress. It serves as our in-house think tank,
collecting and analyzing vital data on a quarterly basis to keep Congress and the American
public current on reconstruction in Afghanistan. To date, SIGAR has produced 45 publicly
available quarterly reports, which provide detailed descriptions of all reconstruction-related
obligations, expenditures, and revenues, as well as an overview of the reconstruction effort as a
whole. SIGAR’s quarterly reports constitute the largest and most detailed collection of data and
analysis on reconstruction activities in Afghanistan, and are viewed by experts both in and out of
government as the go-to source for information on reconstruction. SIGAR’s quarterly reports
were the first to question the accuracy of various claims of progress in Afghanistan, ranging from
the accuracy of Afghan troop numbers to the number of children actually attending school to the
state of the Afghan economy.



SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                              Page 7
Our Audits and Inspections Directorate is another extraordinary source of information and
assistance to our Lessons Learned Program. Since 2009, SIGAR has issued 358 audits,
inspections and other reports, and has more auditors, inspectors, and engineers on the ground in
Afghanistan than USAID OIG, State OIG, and DOD OIG combined. In a unique innovation,
SIGAR also has a cooperative agreement to work with an independent Afghan oversight
organization, giving SIGAR an unparalleled ability to go “outside the wire” to places where
travel is unsafe for U.S. government employees. SIGAR’s auditors and inspectors determine
whether infrastructure projects have been properly constructed, used, and maintained, and also
conduct forensic reviews of reconstruction funds managed by State, DOD, and USAID to
identify anomalies that may indicate fraud.

Our Investigations Directorate conducts criminal and civil investigations of waste, fraud, and
abuse relating to programs and operations supported with U.S. funds. SIGAR has full federal law
enforcement authority, and pursues criminal prosecutions, civil actions, forfeitures, monetary
recoveries, and suspension and debarments. SIGAR has more investigators on the ground in
Afghanistan than any other oversight agency. Our investigators regularly work with other law
enforcement organizations, including other IG offices, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the
FBI, and others. Major investigations conducted by the Investigations Directorate include
contract fraud, diversion of U.S. government loans, money laundering, and corruption. A very
significant part of this work has been focused on fuel, the “liquid gold” of Afghanistan. The
Investigations Directorate has provided valuable information to our Lessons Learned Program
analysts, a prime example being the Corruption in Conflict report.

Lastly, our Office of Special Projects examines emerging issues and delivers prompt, actionable
reports to federal agencies and Congress. This office was created in response to requests by
agencies operating in Afghanistan for actionable insights and information on important issues
that could be produced more quickly than a formal audit. Special Projects reports cover a wide
range of programs and activities to fulfill SIGAR’s legislative mandate to protect taxpayers and
have proven useful to the Lessons Learned Program. For example, its examination of programs
run by DOD’s now-defunct Task Force for Business and Stability Operations was a major
impetus for the Lessons Learned Program report on Private Sector Development and Economic
Growth.

While the documentary evidence in our lessons learned reports tells a story, it cannot substitute
for the experience, knowledge, and wisdom of people who participated in the Afghanistan
reconstruction effort. For that reason, our analysts have conducted well over 600 interviews at
last count—with experts in academia and research institutions; current and former civilian and
military officials in our own government, the Afghan government, and other donor country
governments; implementing partners and contractors; and members of civil society. Interviewees
have ranged from ambassadors to airmen. These interviews provide valuable insights into the
rationale behind decisions, debates within and between agencies, and frustrations that spanned
the years. The information we glean from them is used to guide us in our inquiry, and we strive


SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                              Page 8
to cross-reference interviewees’ claims with the documentary evidence, or if that is not possible,
with other interviews.

Our choice of which interviews or quotes to use is based on our analysts’ judgment of whether it
captures an observation or insight that is more broadly representative and consistent with the
weight of evidence from various sources—not whether it is simply a colorful expression of
opinion. Lessons Learned Program analysts must adhere to strict professional guidelines
regarding the sourcing of their findings, in accordance with the Council of the Inspectors General
on Integrity and Efficiency’s Quality Standards for Inspection and Evaluation (commonly
referred to as “the Blue Book.”) 3

While some of our interviewees do not mind being quoted, others have a well-founded fear of
retribution from political or tribal enemies, employers, governments, or international donors who
are paying their salaries. These persons often request that we not reveal their names. Honoring
those requests for confidentiality is a bedrock principle at SIGAR, for three reasons. First, it is
required by law—specifically, by the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended. 4 Second, there
are obvious humanitarian and security concerns. Finally, without the ability to shield our sources,
we simply would not be able to do our work. In fact, at our last tally, more than 80 percent of
those interviewed for the Lessons Learned Program reports requested their names not be
disclosed.

Another important part of the quality control process used by SIGAR’s Lessons Learned
Program is an external peer review. For each of our reports, we seek and receive feedback on the
draft report from a group of subject matter experts, who often have significant experience
working in Afghanistan. These experts are drawn from universities, think tanks, and the private
sector, and often include retired senior military officers and diplomats. Each group of experts is
tailored to a particular topic, and they provide thoughtful, detailed comments.

Over the course of producing any one report, Lessons Learned Program analysts also routinely
engage with officials at USAID, State, DOD, and other agencies to familiarize them with the
team’s preliminary findings, lessons, and recommendations. Our analysts also solicit formal and
informal feedback to improve our understanding of the key issues and recommendations, as
viewed by each agency. The agencies are then given an opportunity to formally review and
comment on the final draft of every report, after which the team usually meets with agency
representatives to discuss their feedback firsthand. Our purpose here is not to avoid all points of
conflict with the agencies we write about, but to make sure we are presenting issues fairly and in
context. Although Lessons Learned Program teams incorporate agencies’ comments where


3   The Blue Book standards can be found at https://www.ignet.gov/content/quality-standards.
4 Section 7(b) of the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended, prohibits SIGAR from disclosing the identity

of a source who provides information to SIGAR. Section 8M(b)(2)(B) of the Act prohibits SIGAR from disclosing
the identity of anyone who reports waste, fraud, and abuse.


SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                         Page 9
appropriate, the analysis, conclusions, and recommendations of our reports remain SIGAR’s
own.

When our reports are published, our next job is vitally important: getting the word out. We have
no intention of producing reports that would suffer the same fate as that well-informed, but sadly
unread, 1988 USAID report our staff discovered in Kabul. Until our findings and
recommendations circulate widely to relevant decision-makers and result in action and change,
we know we are not producing lessons learned; we are merely recording lessons observed. Each
of our reports is the subject of a major launch event, usually at a research institution or think
tank, designed to draw attention to reach policymakers, practitioners, and the public. Our reports
are also posted online, both as a downloadable PDF and in a user-friendly interactive format.

Our analysts follow up by providing lectures and briefings to civilian and military reconstruction
practitioners, researchers, and students at schools and training institutions worldwide. Our
reports have become course material at the U.S. Army War College; our analysts have lectured
or led workshops at the Foreign Service Institute, Davidson College, the National Defense
University, Yale, and Princeton. A more extensive discussion of our ongoing outreach program
and the successful use of the reports by U.S agencies is found in the next section.


What We Have Accomplished: Seven Lessons Learned Reports
To date, the Lessons Learned Program has published seven reports. Two more reports—one on
elections in Afghanistan and another on the monitoring and evaluation of U.S. government
contracts there—will be published in the early part of 2020. After those, we expect to issue a
report on women’s empowerment in Afghanistan and another on policing and corrections later in
2020 or early 2021 at the latest. Following are brief summaries of our published reports, the full
versions of which can be found on SIGAR’s website. 5

      •   Corruption in Conflict: Lessons from the U.S. Experience in Afghanistan, published in
          September 2016, examined how the U.S. government understood the risks of corruption
          in Afghanistan, how the U.S. response to corruption evolved, and the effectiveness of that
          response. We found that corruption substantially undermined the U.S. mission in
          Afghanistan from the very beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom. We concluded that
          failure to effectively address the problem means U.S. reconstruction programs will at best
          continue to be subverted by systemic corruption and, at worst, will fail. The lesson is that
          anticorruption efforts need to be at the center of planning and policymaking for
          contingencies. The U.S. government should not exacerbate corruption by flooding a weak
          economy with too much money too quickly, with too little oversight. U.S. agencies
          should know whom they are doing business with, and avoid empowering highly corrupt
          actors. Strong monitoring and evaluation systems must be in place for assistance, and the

5   https://www.sigar.mil/lessonslearned/


SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                 Page 10
        U.S. government should maintain consistent pressure on the host government for critical
        reforms.
    •   Reconstructing the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces: Lessons from the U.S.
        Experience in Afghanistan, published in September 2017, examined how the U.S.
        government—primarily the DOD, State, and the Department of Justice—developed and
        executed security sector assistance in Afghanistan from 2002 to 2016. Our analysis
        revealed that the U.S. government was ill-prepared to help build an Afghan army and
        police force capable of protecting Afghanistan from internal or external threats and
        preventing the country from becoming a terrorist safe haven. U.S. personnel also
        struggled to implement a dual strategy of attempting to rapidly improve security while
        simultaneously developing self-sufficient Afghan military and police capabilities, all on
        short, politically-driven timelines. We found that the U.S. government lacked a
        comprehensive approach and coordinating body to successfully implement the whole-of-
        government programs necessary to develop a capable and self-sustaining ANDSF.
        Ultimately, the United States—after expending over $70 billion—designed a force that
        was not able to provide nationwide security, especially as the force faced a larger threat
        than anticipated after the drawdown of coalition military forces. The report identifies
        lessons to inform U.S. policies and actions for future security sector assistance missions,
        and provides recommendations to improve performance of security sector assistance
        programs.
    •   Private Sector Development and Economic Growth: Lessons from the U.S. Experience in
        Afghanistan, published in April 2018, examined efforts by the U.S. government to
        stimulate and build the Afghan economy after the initial defeat of the Taliban in 2001.
        While Afghanistan achieved significant early success in telecommunications,
        transportation, and construction, and in laying the foundations of a modern economic
        system, the goal of establishing long-term, broad-based, and sustainable economic
        growth has proved elusive. The primary reason, the report concluded, was persistent
        uncertainty, created by ongoing physical insecurity and political instability, which
        discouraged investment and other economic activity and undermined efforts to reduce
        pervasive corruption. Other reasons were the inadequate understanding and mitigation of
        relationships among corrupt strongmen and other power holders, and the inability to help
        Afghanistan to develop the physical and institutional infrastructure that would allow it to
        be regionally competitive in trade and agriculture. Two of the report's major
        recommendations are that future economic development assistance, in Afghanistan or
        elsewhere, should be based on a deeper understanding of the economy and society, and
        that needed governance institutions be allowed to proceed at an appropriate pace.
    •   Stabilization: Lessons from the U.S. Experience in Afghanistan, published in May 2018,
        detailed how USAID, State and DOD tried to support and legitimize the Afghan
        government in contested districts from 2002 through 2017. Our analysis revealed the U.S.
        government greatly overestimated its ability to build and reform government institutions



SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                              Page 11
        in Afghanistan as part of its stabilization strategy. We found that the stabilization strategy
        and the programs used to achieve it were not properly tailored to the Afghan context, and
        successes in stabilizing Afghan districts rarely lasted longer than the physical presence of
        coalition troops and civilians. As a result, by the time all prioritized districts had
        transitioned from coalition to Afghan control in 2014, the services and protection
        provided by Afghan forces and civil servants often could not compete with a resurgent
        Taliban as it filled the void in newly vacated territory.
    •   Counternarcotics: Lessons from the U.S. Experience in Afghanistan, published in June
        2018, examined how U.S. agencies tried to deter farmers and traffickers from
        participating in the cultivation and trade of opium, build Afghan government counterdrug
        capacity, and develop the country’s licit economy. We found that no counterdrug
        program led to lasting reductions in poppy cultivation or opium production—and, without
        a stable security environment, there was little possibility of success. The U.S. government
        failed to develop and implement counternarcotics strategies that outlined or effectively
        directed U.S. agencies toward shared goals. Eradication efforts ultimately had no lasting
        impact on opium cultivation, and alienated rural populations. Even though U.S. strategies
        said eradication and development aid should target the same areas on the ground, we
        found—by using new geospatial imagery—that frequently this did not happen.
        Development programs failed to provide farmers with sustainable alternatives to poppy.
        Two positive takeaways are that (1) some provinces and districts saw temporary
        reductions in poppy cultivation, and (2) U.S. support and mentorship helped stand up
        well-trained, capable Afghan counterdrug units that became trusted partners. We
        concluded, however, that until there is greater security in Afghanistan, it will be nearly
        impossible to bring about lasting reductions in poppy cultivation and drug production. In
        the meantime, the United States should aim to cut off drug money going to insurgent
        groups, promote licit livelihood options for rural communities, and fight drug-related
        government corruption.
    •   Divided Responsibility: Lessons from U.S. Security Sector Assistance Efforts in
        Afghanistan, published in June 2019, highlighted the difficulty of coordinating security
        sector assistance during active combat and under the umbrella of a 39-member NATO
        coalition when no specific DOD organization or military service was assigned ultimate
        responsibility for U.S. efforts. The report explored the problems created by this
        balkanized command structure in the training of Afghan army and police units, strategic-
        level advising at the ministries of defense and interior, procuring military equipment, and
        running U.S.-based training programs for the Afghan military. Its findings are relevant
        for ongoing efforts in Afghanistan, as well as for future efforts to rebuild security forces
        in states emerging from protracted conflict.
    •   Reintegration of Ex-Combatants: Lessons from the U.S. Experience in Afghanistan,
        published in September 2019, examined the five main post-2001 efforts to reintegrate
        former combatants into Afghan society, and assessed their effectiveness. We found that



SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                Page 12
        these efforts did not help any significant number of former fighters to reintegrate, did not
        weaken the insurgency, and did not reduce violence. We concluded that as long as the
        Taliban insurgency is ongoing, the United States should not support a program to
        reintegrate former fighters. However, the United States should consider supporting a
        reintegration effort if certain conditions are in place: (a) the Afghan government and the
        Taliban sign a peace agreement that provides a framework for reintegration of ex-
        combatants; (b) a significant reduction in overall violence occurs; and (c) a strong
        monitoring and evaluation system is established for reintegration efforts. If U.S. agencies
        support a reintegration program, policymakers and practitioners should anticipate and
        plan for serious challenges to implementation—including ongoing insecurity, political
        instability, corruption, determining who is eligible, and the difficulty of monitoring and
        evaluation. Broader development assistance that stimulates the private sector and creates
        jobs can also help ex-combatants to reintegrate into society.


Impacts of the Lessons Learned Program
To date, SIGAR’s Lessons Learned Program has offered nearly 120 recommendations to
executive branch agencies and the Congress. To the best of our knowledge, 13 of those have
been implemented, and at least 20 are in progress. In evaluating these numbers, it is important to
note that some recommendations can only be implemented as part of future contingency
operations; and some recommendations rely on outcomes that have not yet happened, such as an
intra-Afghan peace deal. Going forward, SIGAR plans to work closely with agencies to get
periodic updates to the status of its lessons learned recommendations.

Congress has already taken action on some of these recommendations. For example, Section
1279 of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act calls for the Secretary of State, the
Secretary of Defense, and the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development
to develop an anti-corruption strategy for reconstruction efforts. This amendment is in keeping
with a recommendation in Corruption in Conflict: Lessons from the U.S. Experience in
Afghanistan.

Additionally, the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act includes amendments related to two
recommendations from our 2017 report entitled Reconstructing the Afghan National Defense and
Security Forces: Lessons from the U.S. Experience in Afghanistan. Section 1201 of the Act
required that during the development and planning of a program to build the capacity of the
national security forces of a foreign country, the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State
jointly consider political, social, economic, diplomatic, and historical factors of the foreign
country that may impact the effectiveness of the program. Section 1211 required the
incorporation of lessons learned from prior security cooperation programs and activities of DOD
that were carried out any time on or after September 11, 2001 into future operations.




SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                               Page 13
The Lessons Learned Program has also had significant institutional impact. Staff from the
Reconstructing the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces report participated in the
Quadrennial Review of Security Sector Assistance in 2018, and the report was cited by the
NATO Stability Police Center of Excellence in its Joint Analysis Report. SIGAR Lessons
Learned Program staff contributed to—and were explicitly recognized as experts in—the 2018
Stabilization Assistance Review, the first interagency policy document outlining how the U.S.
government will conduct stabilization missions. The acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
for the Bureau for Conflict and Stabilization Operations later instructed his entire bureau to read
the report. During Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s testimony before the United States Senate,
Senator Todd Young asked him to respond in writing indicating which of the report’s
recommendations he would implement.

Each of our reports has led to briefings or requests for information from members of Congress.
The lead analyst for the Reconstructing the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces report
testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in 2017. At the
request of the chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, our analysts
compiled a list of potential oversight areas relating to the train, advise, and assist mission in
Afghanistan and to appropriations for the Afghan Security Forces Fund. In September 2018,
after publication of the Counternarcotics report, the Senate Drug Caucus wrote a letter to SIGAR
requesting an inquiry into the U.S. government’s current counternarcotics efforts, including the
extent to which a whole-of-government approach exists, the effectiveness of U.S. and Afghan
law enforcement efforts, the impact of the drug lab bombing campaign, and the extent to which
money laundering and corruption undermine counterdrug efforts.

Prior to the publication of Reconstructing the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces,
SIGAR Lessons Learned Program staff participated in a multiday session convened by the
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, on reconstruction-related
activities in Afghanistan. They also participated in a failure analysis session led by the Secretary
of Defense and run by the Joint Chiefs of Staff; this session was used to help develop the
president’s South Asia Strategy in 2017.

In addition, Lessons Learned Program staff have given briefings on Reconstructing the Afghan
National Defense and Security Forces to the Commander of U.S. Central Command, the
Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, National Security Council staff, the Deputy Supreme
Allied Commander for Europe, the Acting Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan,
the Commander of the Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan, and multiple
U.S. general officers in Afghanistan. Our analysts have given briefings on the Stabilization
report to the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Stability and Humanitarian
Affairs, DOD’s Strategic Multi-Layer Assessment Group, the U.S. Army’s 95th Civil Affairs
Brigade, senior officials responsible for stabilization in Syria at the U.S. State Department’s
Bureau for Near Eastern Affairs, and high-ranking officials at USAID.



SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                Page 14
At the request of the State Department’s Bureau for Conflict and Stabilization Operations,
SIGAR analysts drafted a memo on the business case for deploying civilians alongside the U.S.
military on stabilization missions. The Deputy Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict,
and Humanitarian Affairs at USAID said the report is already affecting stabilization efforts and
planning in Syria and elsewhere. Lessons Learned Program staff who worked on the
Reintegration of Ex-Combatants report have heard informally from contacts at USAID and State
that the report has been well received and is seen as a resource for future policies or programs
related to reintegration.

Our reports have also assisted NATO and other coalition partners. Following the publication of
the Divided Responsibility report, NATO hosted an all-day event on the topic of the report at its
headquarters in Brussels. The team lead from the Reintegration of Ex-Combatants report also
briefed officials at the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the German Federal Ministry for
Economic Cooperation and Development on the report in November 2019.

SIGAR Lessons Learned Program staff who worked on the Private Sector Development and
Economic Growth report participated in a closed-door roundtable with Afghan President Ashraf
Ghani’s senior economic advisor focusing on recent reforms in Afghanistan’s economic
governance.

Following the publication of the Stabilization report, Lessons Learned Program staff briefed the
senior United Nations Development Programme official responsible for stabilization efforts in
Iraq, and answered requests for briefings from Germany’s Foreign Office, the Federal Ministry
for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale
Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

Although not a complete list of our staff’s activities, suffice it to say that the Lessons Learned
Program has created for itself a reputation as a reliable source of expertise and analysis on our
nation’s longest war—the first step in the process of learning from our successes and failures.


Key Lessons from SIGAR’s Ten Years of Work
Now the question becomes: after all this, what enduring lessons have we learned? Here are a few
overarching conclusions from our Lessons Learned Program and SIGAR’s other work:

    •   Successful reconstruction is incompatible with continuing insecurity. To have
        successful reconstruction in any given area, the fighting in that area must be largely
        contained. When that happens, U.S. agencies should be prepared to move quickly, in
        partnership with the host nation, to take advantage of the narrow window of opportunity
        before an insurgency can emerge or reconstitute itself. This holds true at both the national
        and local levels. In general, U.S. agencies should consider carrying out reconstruction




SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                Page 15
        activities in more secure areas first, and limit reconstruction in insecure areas to carefully
        tailored, small-scale efforts and humanitarian relief.
    •   Unchecked corruption in Afghanistan undermined U.S. strategic goals—and we
        helped to foster that corruption. The U.S. government’s persistent belief that throwing
        more money at a problem automatically leads to better results created a feedback loop in
        which the success of reconstruction efforts was measured by the amount of money
        spent—which in turn created requests for more money. The United States also
        inadvertently aided the Taliban’s resurgence by forming alliances of convenience with
        warlords who had been pushed out of power by the Taliban. The coalition paid warlords
        to provide security and, in many cases, to run provincial and district administrations, on
        the assumption that the United States would eventually hold those warlords to account
        when they committed acts of corruption or brutality. That accounting rarely took place—
        and the abuses committed by coalition-aligned warlords drove many Afghans into the
        arms of the resurgent Taliban. The insecurity that resulted has harmed virtually every
        U.S. and coalition initiative in Afghanistan to this day—discouraging trade, investment,
        and other economic activity and making it harder to build the government institutions
        needed to support the private sector. In the future, we need to recognize the vital
        importance of addressing corruption from the outset. This means taking into account the
        amount of assistance a host country can absorb; being careful not to flood a small, weak
        economy with too much money, too fast; and ensuring that U.S. agencies can more
        effectively monitor assistance. It would also mean limiting U.S. alliances with malign
        powerbrokers, holding highly corrupt actors to account, and incorporating anticorruption
        objectives into security and stability goals.
    •   After the Taliban’s initial defeat, there was no clear reconstruction strategy and no
        single military service, agency, or nation in charge of reconstruction. Between 2001
        and 2006, the reconstruction effort was woefully underfunded and understaffed in
        Afghanistan. Then, as the Taliban became resurgent, the U.S. overcorrected and poured
        billions of dollars into a weak economy that was unable to absorb it. Some studies
        suggest that the generally accepted amount of foreign aid a country’s economy can
        absorb at any given time is 15 to 45 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, or
        GDP. In Afghanistan’s weak economy, the percentage would be on the low end of that
        scale. Yet by 2004, U.S. aid to Afghanistan exceeded the 45 percent threshold. In 2007
        and 2010, it totaled more than 100 percent. This massive influx of dollars distorted the
        Afghan economy, fueled corruption, bought a lot of real estate in Dubai and the United
        States, and built the many “poppy palaces” you can see today in Kabul. Another example
        of unintended consequences were efforts to rebuild the Afghan police—a job that neither
        State nor DOD was fully prepared to do. State lacked the in-house expertise and was
        unable to safely operate in insecure environments like Afghanistan; the U.S. military
        could operate in an insecure environment, but had limited expertise in training civilian
        police forces. Our research found instances where Black Hawk helicopter pilots were



SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                 Page 16
        assigned to train police, while other soldiers turned to TV shows such as “NCIS” and
        “COPS” as sources for police training program curricula. SIGAR believes that Congress
        needs to review this tangled web of conflicting priorities and authorities, with the aim of
        designating a single agency to be in charge of future reconstruction efforts. At the very
        least, there should be a comprehensive review of funding authorities and agency
        responsibilities for planning and conducting reconstruction activities.
    •   Politically driven timelines undermine the reconstruction effort. The U.S. military is
        an awesome weapon; when our soldiers are ordered to do something, they do it—whether
        or not they are best suited to the task. One example of this was DOD’s $675 million
        effort to jumpstart the Afghan economy. DOD is not known for being particularly skilled
        at economic development. Frustrated by the belief that USAID’s development efforts
        would not bring significant economic benefit to Afghanistan quickly enough to be
        helpful, in 2009 DOD expanded its Iraq Task Force for Business and Stability Operations
        (“TFBSO”) to Afghanistan. TFBSO initiated a number of diverse and well-intentioned,
        but often speculative projects in areas for which it had little or no real expertise. For
        example, TFBSO spent millions to construct a compressed natural gas station in
        Sheberghan, Afghanistan, in an effort to create a compressed natural gas market in
        Afghanistan. It was a noble goal—but there were no other compressed natural gas
        stations in Afghanistan, so for obvious reasons, any cars running on that fuel could not
        travel more than half a tank from the only place they could refuel. In the end, the U.S.
        taxpayer paid to convert a number of local Afghan taxis to run on compressed natural gas
        in order to create a market for the station—which, to SIGAR’s knowledge, remains the
        only one of its kind in Afghanistan. My point here is not to hold DOD up to ridicule; it
        was simply doing the best it could in the time it had with the orders it was given. The real
        problem was a timeline driven by political considerations and divorced from reality,
        implemented by an agency that lacked the required expertise and had little to no
        oversight.
    •   If we cannot end the “annual lobotomy,” we should at least mitigate its impact. I
        assumed my current post in 2012. I’m now working with my fifth U.S. Ambassador to
        Afghanistan, my sixth NATO and U.S. Commanding General, and eighth head of the
        U.S. train, advise, and assist command. Some 80 percent of the U.S. embassy departs
        each summer and most of the U.S. military assigned to Afghanistan is deployed for a year
        or less. The lack of institutional memory caused by personnel turnover in Afghanistan is
        widely known. Even so, the U.S. government continues to routinely defer to the on-the-
        ground experience of deployed personnel to assess progress and evaluate their own work.
        The result is assessments that are often considerably rosier than they should be, or totally
        irrelevant—for example, when trainers were asked to evaluate their own training of
        Afghan units, they gave themselves high marks for instruction—a metric that had little to
        do with reflecting the units’ actual battlefield readiness. The constant turnover of




SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                               Page 17
        personnel in Afghanistan highlights the need for more rigorous oversight and scrutiny,
        not less.
    •   To be effective, reconstruction efforts must be based on a deep understanding of the
        historical, social, legal, and political traditions of the host nation. The United States
        sent personnel into Afghanistan who did not know the difference between al-Qaeda and
        the Taliban, and who lacked any substantive knowledge of Afghan society, local
        dynamics, and power relationships. In the short term, SIGAR believes Congress should
        mandate more rigorous, in-depth pre-deployment training that exposes U.S. personnel to
        the history of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, at the very least. In the long term, we
        need to find ways of ramping up our knowledge base in the event of future contingency
        operations, perhaps by identifying academic experts willing to lend their expertise on
        short notice as a contingency emerges. There is also a dearth of staff at U.S. agencies
        with the vital combination of long-term institutional memory and recent experience. In
        the case of Afghanistan, we should listen more to people who have developed expertise
        over time—most notably, Afghan officials, who have greater institutional and historical
        knowledge than their U.S. counterparts.


Matters for Congressional Consideration
In addition to the prior list of key lessons from SIGAR’s work, at the request of committee staff,
we have also compiled a list of six recommendations for immediate consideration for the
Congress.

        1. In light of the ongoing peace negotiations, the Congress should consider the urgent
           need for the Administration to plan for what happens after the United States reaches a
           peace deal with the Taliban. There are a number of serious threats to a sustainable
           peace in Afghanistan that will not miraculously disappear with signing a peace
           agreement. Any such agreement is likely to involve dramatic reductions of U.S.
           forces, and with that comes the need to plan for transferring the management of
           security-related assistance from DOD to State leadership. DOD manages some $4
           billion per year in security sector assistance to Afghanistan, and State is wholly
           unprepared at this moment to take on management of that enormous budget. Any
           peace agreement and drawdown of U.S. forces raises a number of other issues that
           could put the U.S.-funded reconstruction effort at risk. As SIGAR reported last year
           in its High Risk List report, these include—but are not limited to—the capability of
           Afghan security forces to conduct counterterrorism operations; protecting the hard-
           won rights of Afghan women; upholding the rule of law; suppressing corruption;
           promoting alternative livelihoods for farmers currently engaged in growing poppy for
           the opium trade—and, not least, the problem of reintegrating an estimated 60,000
           Taliban fighters, their families, and other illegal armed groups into civil society.




SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                              Page 18
        2. To ensure Congress and the taxpayers are properly apprised in a timely manner of
           significant events that pose a threat to the U.S. reconstruction mission in Afghanistan,
           Congress should consider requiring all federal agencies operating in country to
           provide reports to the Congress disclosing risks to major reconstruction projects and
           programs, and disclosing important events or developments as they occur. These
           reports would be analogous to the reports publically traded companies in the United
           States are now required to file with the Securities Exchange Commission to keep
           investors informed about important events. 6

        3. In light of the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan and decreasing staffing,
           there will be a natural tendency for U.S. agencies to increase their use of on-budget
           assistance or international organizations and trust funds to accomplish reconstruction
           and development goals. Congress should consider conditioning such on-budget
           assistance on rigorous assessments of the Afghan ministries and international trust
           funds having strong accountability measures and internal controls in place.

        4. Oversight is mission critical to any successful reconstruction and development
           program in Afghanistan. The Congress should consider requiring DOD, State,
           USAID, and other relevant executive agencies to ensure adequate oversight,
           monitoring and evaluation efforts continue and not be dramatically reduced as part of
           a right-sizing program, as witnessed recently by State’s personnel reductions at the
           Kabul embassy. Without adequate oversight staffing levels and the ability to
           physically inspect, monitor and evaluate programs, Congress should consider the
           efficacy of continuing assistance.

        5. The Congress should consider requiring U.S. government agencies supporting U.S.
           reconstruction missions to “rack and stack” their programs and projects by identifying
           their best- and worst-performing activities, so that the Congress can more quickly
           identify whether and how to reallocate resources to projects that are proving
           successful. The ambiguous responses to SIGAR’s 2013 request of DOD, State, and
           USAID that they identify their best- and worst-performing projects and programs (see
           Appendix I) in Afghanistan indicate that the agencies may not routinely engage in the
           self-evaluation necessary to honestly evaluate what is working and what is not.

        6. The Congress should request that State, DOD and USAID submit a finalized
           anticorruption strategy for reconstruction efforts in U.S. contingency operations. This
           requirement was part of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, which set a


6 Every publically traded company in the United States is required to file annual and quarterly reports with the

SEC about the company’s operations, including a detailed disclosure of the risks the company faces (known as
“10-K” and “10-Q” reports). Public companies are also required to file more current 8-K reports disclosing
“material events” as they occur, i.e., major events or developments that shareholders should know about.


SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                          Page 19
            deadline of May 2018 for the strategy to be submitted to various congressional
            committees, including this one. In December 2019, State told SIGAR that the strategy
            "is still under development." Further, the NDAA language did not state that
            anticorruption is a national security priority in a contingency operation, or require
            annual reporting on implementation. The Congress should consider incorporating
            these elements into its renewed request to agencies.


Conclusion
As anybody who has served in government knows, when you undertake an effort such as our
Lessons Learned Program, you will inevitably gore somebody’s ox. The programs, policies, and
strategies SIGAR has reviewed were all the result of decisions made by people who, for the most
part, were doing the best they could. While our lessons learned reports identify failures, missed
opportunities, bad judgment, and the occasional success, the response to our reports within the
U.S. government has generally been positive. It is to the credit of many of the government
officials we have worked with—and, in some cases, criticized—that they see the value of
SIGAR’s lessons learned work and are suggesting new topics for us to explore.

Our work is far from done. For all the lives and treasure the United States and its coalition
partners have expended in Afghanistan, and for Afghans themselves who have suffered the most
from decades of violence, the very least we can do is to learn from our successes and failures.
SIGAR’s Lessons Learned Program is our attempt to do that, and in my opinion, its work will be
our agency’s most important legacy.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify today. I look forward to answering your questions.




SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                            Page 20
Appendix I – Correspondence Between SIGAR and U.S. Government Agencies
Regarding Most and Least Successful Reconstruction Projects and Programs in
Afghanistan




SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                Page 21
SIGAR 20-19-TY   Page 22
SIGAR 20-19-TY   Page 23
SIGAR 20-19-TY   Page 24
                 Both response letters are tt1oughtful and informative. and include pertinent observations of the
                 difficulty of executing reconstruction programs tn a setting like Afghantstm. plagued as 1t is by
                 violence, poveny. illiteracy, corruption. 1nadeQuate inffastrucrure, and other problems. In three
                 trips to Afghantstan during my first year as Special Inspector General I have seen and heard
                 much evidence of Uie difficulties facing program and project planners. manage,s. and oversight
                 officials. both dvilian and military I have special respect for the dedication and bravery of your
                 staff working in that dangerous pan of the world and agree that they have contnbut.e d
                 slgrilficantly to pr oduc,ng some lnd,ca tors of genuine progress In securi ty governance
                 development rule of law human rights and other areas that will benefit the people of
                 Afghan,stm and Americas policy interests
                 Nonetheless. I have some dlff,culties w,th the rospons1veness of your agencres letters
                 First, State and USAID made a Jotnl ,esponse, despite separate requests having been made to
                 them . I understand-and am delighted as a citizen and taxpayer-that the agencies a1e 1n #close
                 cooperation on matters affecting Afghan reconstruction However. each agency has ,ts own
                 internal organization and practices, Its own in-house Inspect.or General evaluatmg that agency's
                 projects and programs, and its own list of programs on Its own website, Because State arid
                 USAID are legally dtstmct e11t1t1es. and because they have operational autonomy w1th1n the ambit
                 of their missions (however closely they cooperate), I ask that the two agencies provide separate
                 responses to this letter I speculate that State pursued the path of a Joint response because of
                 the llmit.ed number of Its programs in Atghan,stan that point wm be addressed later 11, this letter
                 via slightly modified request language.
                 Second neither 1esponse letter complied with my request fo1 a listingand discussion of each
                 agency's 10 most and 10 least successful projects or programs The State/USA1D response
                 exp1Jc1t1y said. we do not compare individual projects aga,nst others · Yet the same letter later
                 notes that ·'not every program has succeeded as originally intended which I read as evidence
                 that someone has examined the results of 1nd1v1dua1 programs and observed that some
                 succeeded and others did not. Defense stated that many reconstn.1ct1on programs are conducted
                 ,n cooperation with partners and are · evaluated on a pr0Jeot..spec1frc basis rather than
                 compared That may well be. but I note that my March 25 letter asked about
                 ··projects/programs, · not exclusively one or the other
                 Program evaluation inevitably entails or at least facilitates comparisons of projects If not what
                 basis would agency managers have for dec1d1ng-.say rn the face of budget cuts. sequestrations
                 or new mission directives-which proJect& to prioritize. expand. contract terminate, transfer 01
                 redesign? How do they decide which project managers deserve greater respons1b1l1ty or career
                 advancement or the obverse. without companng outcomes? How do they capture lessons
                 learned to improve agency performance without making comparisons? Nonetheless. even If a
                 formal process of comparing program or pro1eat outcomes does not exist within your agencies
                 hope it will not seem unreasonable if I ask you to make at minimum a hm1ted. judgmental
                 comparison to help SIGAR with its official duties.
                 My th11d concern with the agency response letters involves the concept of 1nd1cators. The letters
                 contam many interesting and encouraging dat.a points 1llustratrng or suggesting overall progress
                 In Afghanistan reconsttuctJon. Unfortunately many of them show no obvious aausat nexus with a
                 particular U.S. program or project or present an output as a prim a facie indicator of suocess
                 USAID proiects and programs are assigned performance indicators that are the basis for




SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                                         Page 25
                 observing progress and measuring actual results compared to e)lpected results of the program
                 Yet the joint State/USAID letter does not identify discrete program-specific indicators necessary
                 to identify characteristics and outcomes. or to inform decisions about currem and future
                 programming. SimilarlY the Departrnentof Defense mandated thatproJects executed through
                 ihe Commander's Emergency Response Program (CERP) have performance metrics for all
                 projects over $50.000 to be tracked upto 36'5 days a~er a project has been completed. 11 CERP
                 performance metrics include the issue of susta1nab1hty ' These are worthy requirements but not
                 all metrics are equally salient or useful
                 For an example of a possibly ambiguous md1cato, the Stats/USAJD letter notes thal lhe
                 proportion of the Afghan populat,on w1U,1n an hour's walk of a health-care facility has risen from
                 9 percent ,n 2001 to more than 60 percent today However. Afghan,stan has been slowly
                 urbarnzmg fo1 decades, w1U, esl.Jmates of 4 7 peretint annual growth 1n urban populations in lhe
                 2010-2015 period • So some part of the observed increase 1n the one-hour 's·waU< parametes
                 simply reflects a demographic trend. As urbanization continues. the indicator would improVe
                 even 1f health-faciltty construction stopped completely Fo1 that matter the tnd1cato1 could also
                 improve if more direct or better-surfaced roads and paths were built Identifying reasonable and
                 measurable Indicators for specific efforts is admittedly not an exact science. but the causal
                 haiiness around the edges of this indicator suggests that careful attentio,, to selection, logic ,
                 and measurement protocol is warranted
                 In addllJon. the health indicators cited tn the lette1 a1e for t11e country as a whole and are not
                 specific to the 13 of34 provmcessupported by USAIO The USAlO Inspector General found in
                 011e 2011 audit that
                         measurement of the magl'!ltude of USAlD's contribution to the national objectives could
                         be made only lndJrectly using proxy Indicators because no current demographic
                         information or health statistics were available to measure health outcomes directly ''
                 The Afghanistan Mortality Survey of 2010 cited in the JotntState/USAID letter does not address
                 this issue as there Is still no clear connection between United States governmenlefforts and
                 overall health improvements I.hat have undoubtedly occurred since 2001 For example the
                 survey reports that the sample design had dfsproporuonate e,cc(us,on. particularly of rural areas.
                 1n the southern region that would affect five of the thirteen provinces specifically supp01ted by
                 USAID Some of these data points also appear to have been selectively chosen in order to
                 emphasize progress. as with the life-expectancy improvement cited 1n the State/USAID letter.
                 with a reported increase from 44 years to more than 60 years Iii the past decade The World
                 Bani< howeve1 . purposely did not include the Mortality Survey results an a recent report because
                 the survey does not have time-series data for the last l.O years. for comparative aoa1Ys1s. they
                 argue, 1t 1s essential to use stabs tics from a smgle irrternallonal database " According to the
                 World Bank figure, Afghan life e~peetancy 1s 48 years
                 The indicator.; for education s1rn1larly appear to tal<e credit for progress across toe country as a
                 Whole without clear attribution to specific United States government efforts The number of
                 students enrolled 1s presented as the national total bltt it 1s not clear what if any connecoon
                 there 1s with the schools built and teachers trained through USAID efforts I would have expected
                 Information such as the utJlrz.atson rates of USAID-supported schools, as thts would more clearly
                 connect the United Stat.es government effort to the reportsdcStl.Jdent numbers and additionally



                                                                                                                 Pag£"J




SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                                            Page 26
                 wou ld provide evidence of Afghan governmentcapac,ty to make use of assets transferred to
                 them .
                 The Department of Defense resPonse offers some information with regard to Afghan government
                 sustainment but the examples are restricted to one province and cover only three of 4 .000
                 education projects tota ltng $230 million obligated The World Bank has raised the issue of
                 sust,mrnent noting that school construction the same indicator touted in both letters has
                 c1owded out operations 11nd mamtenance. with allocatJons falling far below reqwements and
                 rareJy reaching schools.• The )olnl State/USAID and Department of Defense resPonses to
                 education h1ghhghtmy issue with the indicators presented with theState/USAlD response
                 disconnected from USAID efforts and the Department of Defense relying on anecdotal evidence
                 For another example. the Defense letter notes that more than 194.000 Afghan National SecuritY
                 Farce personnel had some level" of literacy and numeracy training, That ,s encouraging, but
                 given that the 2009 rate of ANSF illiteracy was 86 percent· and that the ANSF has fairly high
                 turnover. 1t does not tell us whether the effort has mabmally improved the overall ANSF literacy
                 rate and, more lmPortantly, Improved 1t to the extent of bols1e11ng administrative and operational
                 success In addrtion, the datum does not tell us whether the literacy program itself 1s efflc1er1tly
                 conducted and monitored
                 Finally, on the rule or law. I was d1sappo1nted to note that the mcllcators offered 1n the iornt
                 State/USAID resPonse did not address two maiorareas of concern high-level corruption and
                 opium produetJon The letter notes that State and USAIO have provided training and SUPPort to
                 Afghan ant1-<:om.1pt1on bodies. but unlike the prison statistics. doe.s 11ot give any 1ndlcatron of the
                 effect such as types and numbers of successful prosecutions Sending 13 Judges on an
                 educational ttip and putting court. personnel through training courses are presumably useful
                 acbvitles. but such outputs need credible Unl<ages to outcomes Similarly the Indicators provided
                 in reference to the drug trade 11ote the scale of the problem. with Afghanistan accounting for
                 roughly 90 percent of heroin worldwide. but does not connect improvements 1n the licit economy
                 With decreases In the llhcfteconomy In 2012. the USAID Inspector General found that a l<ey
                 USAID alternative<Jevelopment program was directed by USAID to focus only on expanding the
                 licit economy m orde, to support indicators for the agrrculwre sectDr such as those touted 1n the
                 letter. and tQ ignore goals mat dealt with assistance to voluntary poppy eradication and to farms
                 in the aftermath of opium PoPPY eradication/destrucuon programs " The report further states
                 that there was increased PoPPY growth in the provinces covered bi the prog,am With t.vo of the
                 covered provinces losing their poppy-free status and five provinces 1neteasrng opium cultivation.
                 The impact of USAID s agricultural programs on the hc1t economy are certainly tauda ble, but 1f
                 tl1ey do not result 1n decreased op,um cultivation then positive impacts a1e eroded.
                 National-level ind1catx:>rs may suggest a positive aggregate impact for U.S. programs, but
                 individual resu lts certainly va1y w1th1n program portfolios of proJect and PoS1tive aggregate
                 outcomes may mask individual failures or sub-par performance. At times. It is even dlfficult to
                 1dentifyan Individual result. Unfortunately the letlsrs dtd not identify specific programs or the
                 indicators and targets for those specific programs
                 Just last month. the State Department's Office of Inspector General published an audit of the
                 Bureau of Administration (A Bureau),Office of Logistics Management. Office of Acquislbons
                 Management (A/LM/AQM), which directs Department acquisition programs and manages a 1
                 percent fee for ,ts services Those services include operations. rn1ss1ons . and programs of the


                                                                                                                 Page4




SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                                             Page 27
                 Bureau of International Narcobcs and Law Enforcement Affairs. the Bureau of Overseas Bu1ldings-
                 Operat1ons. the Bureau of Dtplomatlc Security as well as grants. contracts and agreements with
                 other nations. non-governmental organizations, and commercial entities. A portlon of that State
                 OIG audit mirrors my concerns and 1s worth not.mg here.
                         A/LM/AQM was tracl<1ng some metrics to assess program performance However. these
                         performance meuics also generally did not tie to the goals in the Business Plan Without
                         measu11ng its performance, A/LM/AQM cannot ensure it1s making progress 011 ,ts overall
                         obJectJve of providing cons istent aM Improved procurement services to the Departrnent
                         Performance management ,s a systematic process of monitoring the achievements of
                         program actJVttles. which includes collecting and analyzing performance data in order to
                         track progress toward a defined goal and then using the analyzed data to make informed
                         decisions, 1ncludrng atlocaung resources for the program Measuring performance
                         a_ga1nst program goals is an essential part of perforrnance management. ••
                 As for Defense, GAO has been carrying DOD contract management on its H1gfl-R1sk List since
                 1992 11, an audit of a mlhtary construction that created life-and-safety electrical and fire hazards
                 for U,S and other coalition personnel, the DOD IG found the responsible A,r Force construction-
                 management off1c1ats "did not develop a formal process to monitor assess, and document the
                 quality of work performed by contractor personnel for four proJects valued at $36.9 million.··
                 Such voids 1n basic data make proJect comparisons even more difficult
                 As you know, SIGAR sown audits. uwestigations. and special proJects have also addressed
                 aspects of reconstruction program or p10Ject success and failure But as the preceding c1tat1ons
                 to other IGs · work nrustrate we are not alone in spotting issues. The large body of work b)' SIGAR,
                 GAO, and yow agency Inspectors General-not to mention numerous agency concurrences 1n the
                 findings and recomrnendatJons tn that worHmply documents that many programs and projects
                 have systematic weaknesses in framing, µlanrung, execution and oversight that call out for
                 1mprovement Pursuant to our statutoiy mandate and as part of our partic1patJon in the Joint
                 Strategic Overs ight Plan for Afghanistan Reconstruction we a1e preparing add1t1onal products for
                 ,elease and will be launching new Initiatives touching on these concerns as the reconstruction
                 effort proceeds
                 As I explained in nw March 25. 2013, letter. an important part of our work Is understanding how
                 U,S agencies evaluate and pe1ce1ve both their successes and failures , That understanding ,s
                 onticaf for formulating lessons learned from our unprecedented reconst.rucbon effort 1n
                 Afghanistan-an effort already accounting for rrea rJy $89 billion in appropriatJor,s U S
                 government agencies need to identify and act on lesson& learned from past reconstruction
                 projects and programs. Timely action can help 1mplementJngagenc1es and Congress adjust
                 reconstruction programs t.o protect taxpayer funds and Improve outcomes before It is too late
                 M~ letter of March 25 tnerefore formally requested that you provide.
                     •   a hst of the 10 Afghar11stan reconstructJon proJects/prograrns funded and deemed most
                         successful by tl"te [agency]
                     •   a list of the 10 Afghanistan reconstruction proiects/progra ms funded and deemed least
                         successful bY the (agency)
                     •   a detailed explanatton of how tl)ese projects/programs were evaluated and selected as
                         the 10 most and least successful projects. including the specific criteria used for each

                                                                                                               PageS




SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                                          Page 28
                 Upon considering your responses to that request I appreciate that 1dent1fy1ng the 10 most-and
                 10 least-5uccessful programs or projects in Afghanistan may entatl an unreasonable benefit/cost
                 burden of research and analytical rigor In comparrsons across many fn1tiatives . We have no wish
                 to impose unproductive burdens upon your staff. especially when many may be inconvenienced
                 by the impingement of sequestration-furlougtis on their worl< hours Therefore I wttl modify my
                 request and now ask you to provide the following.
                    •    a list of 10 of the more successful Afghanistan reconstruction projects/ programs funded
                         by your agency
                    •    a list of 10 of the less successful Afgt,an1stan reconstruction proJecis/programs tunded
                         by yaur agency
                     •   an explanation of how you selected the proiects in each hst and your view of what made
                         them more or less successful (e g . goal framing. requirements identJfica.tlon acquiring
                         actlvlty agent performance management oversight and technical assessment,
                         coordination) than intended
                 Note In view of States more limited program actlVlty 1n Afghanistan a reasonable response of
                 fewer than 10 Jtems In each category WIii be satisfactory
                 Based on you, responses we w1ll 1dentify ind1v1dual programs and p101ects fo1 possible further
                 examination through reviews or audits This could lead us to look at programs or proJects
                 deemed to have achieved their objectives as well as less successful undertakings In addltlon to
                 nobng the c11tena your agency used to evaluate the proJects. the results of those evaluations
                 and any documented lessons learned we could assess !)ow well the proJects achieved their
                 stated obJecoves and whether they contt1bUte:d to the larger strategic goats underlying the U.S,
                 government's Afghan reconstruction efforts
                 In addition for each program examined we will seek to answer the seven questions laid out in
                 SIGAR s January 2013 Quarterly Report to Congress. These are seven questions that dec1s1on
                 makers 1ncludtng Congress should ask as they consider whether and how best to use remaining
                 reconstruction funds The questions are·
                         -1. Does the projector program make a clear and Identifiable contribution to our
                             natlonal Interests or strategic objectives?
                         2   Do the Afghans want It or need it?
                         3   Has 1t been coordinat:ed with other U.S 1mplementmg agencies. with the Afghan
                             government and with other 1ntarnat1onal donors?
                         4 , Do security conditions permit effective 1mptement.at1on and oversight'.?
                         5   Does ,t have adequate safeguards to detect. deter and miugare corruption?
                         6 . Do the Afghans have the financial resources . technical capacity and politJcal Will to
                             susta1111t?
                         7. Have implementing partners established meaningful, measurable metrics for
                             determining successful proiect outcomes?
                 We believe our reviews and audits. by helping to understand and document how agencies are
                 planning strategically for reconstruction spending, establishing program objectives evaluating
                 programs, and identifying lessons learned. will comnbute to improving the efficiency and


                                                                                                               Page-6




SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                                          Page 29
                 effectiveness of critJcal reconstruction programs and m,tigatd fraud. waste. and abuse_SIGAR
                 will continue to make every effort to see that Congress and the implementing agencies are fully
                 Informed about the progress of the reconstruction effort~nclud1ng discussions of agency Policy
                 and pracbce that have led to good outc.omes-and have the 1nformat1on they need to safeguard
                 US funds and ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely
                 I trust this letter clarifies the reasons for my March 25 request and that my modification of
                 terms fairly and reasonably addresses \he concerns voiced in your previous respcnses I look
                 forward to your 1·espcnse and our contu1ued cooperation tn s1.1pport of the natJ011a I m1ss1011 111
                 Afghanistan.
                                                                                 Sincerely




                                                                             /-:~Special Inspector General
                                                                                  for Afghanistan Reconstruction

                 Enclosures

                 cc The Hono,able James B Cunningham, US Ambassador to Afghanishln




                 Notes


                      Office of Management and BudgeL Memorandum to the He<1ds of Executive Departments and Agencies,
                      Use of Evidence and Eval uabon in the2014 Budgel May 18. 2012. p. 2.
                  United States Agency for lnternat,onal Development. ADS Chapter 203 - Assessing-and Learning,
                 11
                 November 2012 p 18
                 ' USFOR·A. Money as a WeapOf/ System-Commander's Emerger,cy Response Program SOP Match 2012.
                 pp. 177-178
                 ''Ibid, p. 40.
                    OIA. ' World Fact~. ooline. accessed June 19. 20il.3
                    USAIO OIG, Audit Of USAID/Afghan,stan s On-Budget Funding ASS/stance 10 the Ministry of Ptiblic Health
                 -in Support of the Partners/lip Contracts for Health Services Program, Audit Report F,306· U-004-P.
                 September 29. 2011. p. 3
                      ' Afghan Pubhc Health Institute. Afghanistan Mortality Survey 20.10. p 10
                 •" Wolld Bani.. Afghanistan in Transition. Looking Beyond 2014 Volume 2 May 2012, p, 12.
                 , World Bank. Afghan/scan III Trans111on. lool<lng Beyolld 201.a Volume 2 . May 2012 pp. 88-89
                 · The World Bank report further notes that the lack of operations and maintenance funds has caused
                 education 1nfra6tructure to detenorate. and that the current school populatton 1s also heavily concentrated
                 in grades .1- 4 , with ti1g)l dropout rates in higher grades. The World Bank states that widespread concerns
                 exist ove1 education qual1ty. owing lo the poor qualifications of some teachers, lack of a standardized




SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                                                  Page 30
                                                                Un il<!d Stmc .. Deplll'l mcm nf Stali-

                                                                \11/\/Ji11,;1tJ11. /).(. :?f/51/J



                                                                         August 5. 2013
             John F. Sopko
             Special rnspector General for
             Afghanistan Reconstruction (Sf GAR)

             Dear Mr. Sopko.

                   Thank you for your feedback on our March 25 response to your query
             regarding our top IO most and least successful projects and programs in
             Afghanistan. We found this to be a useful exercise lhat sparked productive
             conversations and enhanced coordination both within the Department of State and
             with the U.S. Agency for lntemational Development (USAID), with whom we
             answered jointly.

                   Our agencies chose to respond joiJ1tly to highlight our close interagency
             cooperation in achieving measurable results from our assistance effo1ts in
             Afghanistan in support of our national security goal of ensuring Afghanistan can
             no longer be a safe haven for terrorists that threaten U.S. interests. We were
             pleased to report on some of the accomplishments of the Depattment of State and
             USAlD in A fghanistan in recent years, as well as on some of the problems that we
             have faced in implc1nenting foreign assistance.

                    We highlighted assistance programs in the education sector, in the field of
             public health. in public financial management, and with respect to promoting the
             empowered role of women, access to electricity and good governa11ce and the rule
             of law. These programs have contributed to measurable positive impacts on
             AfghaPi stan 's development and stabiJity. with achievements- based objective
             indicators ol progress including improvement on international indices for human,
             economic, and dem0cratic development. We also acknowledged that operating in
             a war-time environment means it is inevitable that not every program has
             succeeded as originally intended. Delays, fraud, poor performance. security
             challenges, and contractor overcharges have been an unfortunate feature of trying
             to achieve our national priorities in Afghanistan that we have constantly battled
             against. Many of the obstacles we have encountered have been well documented
             and have benefited From SfGAR· s oversight.




SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                            Page 31
                  In noting in the March response those areas where continuing attention is
            warranted given the challenges of operating in Afghanistan, we emphasized that
            we share Sl GAR 's goal of safeguarding U.S . taxpayer resources from fraud, waste,
            and abuse, while seeking the most effective uses of those resources in advancing
            our national security through assistan(.,e progran1s in Afghanistan. We look
            forward to working together to find ways to improve our oversight mechanisms.

                    As we explained in our March lener. however. we monitor and evaluate
            indjvidual projects against the detailed standards and outcomes established in the
            initial performance documents. Given the wide range of assistance projects and
            programs our agencies have can-ied out, we do not compare indi vidual projects
            against others, particularly over a decade of intensive rebuilding elfo11s, which
            result in constant ly changing conditions for each project. We also recognize that
            achieving our strategic goals in any particular sector in Afghanistan requires a
            number of projects working together in rime or over time -- including those using
            other donors' funds.

                   While we rec<.ignize the value of many of1he points emphasized in your
            follow Lip letter, upon reviewing the modified request we believe we have no
            additional information to supplernent our response to your original requesL We
            welcome further discussion and oversight of any of our exist ing or past
            reconstruction projects and programs in Afghanistan.




                                                         ~incerely,
                                                          I
                                                           ,. ,'~
                                                         J1'rrctt Blanc
                                                         Deputy Special Representative for
                                                         Afghanistan and Pakistan




SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                    Page 32
                 oumoulum, lack of evaluation standards, and insufficiency of basic school supplies, Statistics collected 1n
                 2009-10 by a national teacher-regJstration system indicate that only 27 pe1cent oi the 162 000
                 registered general-ooucatioo teachers are educated at a grade 14 le\lel the official minimum requirement
                 for teaching, or hlgher
                 ' Staternent of Lt Gen William B- Caldwell IV. Commander, United States Army North Fifth Army. before
                 the U S House Subcommittee on National SecuritY Komeland Defense and FOfeign OperalJons, hearing
                 Sepl 12, 2012.
                 ' ' lJSAID OIG Audit <X USAID/Afghanlstan s lnoent1ves Drrvmg Economic A/ternat1vesfor the North East.
                 and West Program, Audit Report F-306-12·004-P June 29, 2012, p. 5
                    ' State OIG AUD-FM·13-29. Audit of Department of St.ate Application of the Procurement Fee to
                 Accompl/sh Key Goals of Procurement Services, May 2013, p. 50.
                 · DOD 1G, Repoit No. DOOIG-20 l.3·052. Inadequate Contract Olers,ght of Military Construction Projects In
                 Afghanistan Resulted In Increased Hamrds to Ufe and Umb of Coalitlon Forces March 8 20.13, I




                                                                                                                      Page fl




SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                                                  Page 33
                                                                                                May 9, 2013

             John F. Sopko
             Special lnspector General for
             Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR)


             SUBJECT:              SIGAR Lener to the Department of State, lJSATD and Department of
                                   Defense Requesting Top Most Successful and Least Successful Projects

             In response to your letter of March 25, we arc pleased to report on some of the accomplishments
             of the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Develupmen! (USAID) in
             Afghanistan in recent years. as weU as on some of the problems that we have faced in
             implementing foreign assistance.

             Our agencies have chosen to respond jointly to highlight our close c-0operation in achieving
             measurable results from our assistance efforts in Afg.hanislall in suppon of our nati-0nal security
             goal ofensuring Afghanistan can no long.er be a safe haven for terrorists that threat£n U .S.
             interests. From a society shattered by more than three decades of war, and a!\er more than a
             decade of r~bwlding, there is now significant statistical da;a outliuing Afghanistan's steady
             progress, despite the political, economic, and security challenges presented by that turbulent pasL

             We monitor and evaluate individual projects against the detailed standards and outcomes
             established in the initial performance documents. Given the wide range of assistance projects
             and programs our agencies have carried out, wc do not compare indhidual projects against
             others. particularly over a decade of intensive rebuilding effo\1S, wbicb result in constantly
             changing conditions for each project. We also recognize !hat achieving our str.1tegic goals in any
             particular sector in Afghanistan requires a number of projects working together over time -
             including those using other donors' funds.

             1.o Part l below, wt highlight assistance programs that have contributed to measurable positive
             impacts on Afghanistan' s development and stability. The acbievemcnrs are based on objective
             indicators of progress including improvement on international indices for human, economic, and
             ricmocratic development. In Pan Ii, we highlight tbe problems we have encountered in ensuring
             the most cost-effective use ofta:cpayer dollars in achieving these gains and the methods we use
             to overcome them.

             Pa.r t l: Measurable Results

             In the eduarion sector, there are clear indicators of progress. 1n 2002, only an estimated
             900,000 boys., and virtually no girls. were in school. Now, there are 8 million srudents emolled
             in school. more than a thml of whom are gills. University eruollment has increru.-ed .from 8.000
             in 2001 LO 77,000 in 2011. USAID has supponed these gains by building 605 schools. training




SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                                     Page 34
                                                              - 2-


             teachers. and developing university teaching degiec programs. Multiple implementers, doooxs
             and coordinated projeccs are responsible for these achievements. Additionally. r.he Embassy's
             Public Affairs Section funded the Bagch-1-simsim (Sesame Street) radio project. This project
             builds upon the success of the television project with the same name and tarBets millions of
             young rural Afghan children who do not have access to a tc.lcvision. The program's themes
             spread the values of tolt:raoce, fairness. and peaceful resolution of confltct. Twenty-six diffC'f'Cllt
             cp~cs of 30 minlllCS each in Dari and Pashto are broadcast on multiple radio stations
             throughout the country. Each sh.ow includes original a:mtent that is aligned wrth the MiniSU}' of
             Educarion·s early childhood educational framework.

             Other U.S. Government-sponsored education programs target other equally important audienc<i!!
             and are designed to build capacity in critical govel'T)mem sectors and achieve foreign policy
             goals. In November 2012. the State Deparuneat hosted a two-week training program in
             Wasbington for 13 Afghan diplomats in partnership with the Public Diplomacy Council and the
             Unive:sity of Maryland. Through formal training sessions, lectures, interactive simulations, and
             site visits. the A fgban visitors developed their practical skills as diplomats and gained better
             understanding of United States culture and policy, particularly the imponance of women's nghts
             and human rights. The impertance of regular iotcraction with a free and independent media in e
             democracy was also hig.hligbled.

             The program was the second phase ofajoinrtrainingpmgram for Afghan diplomats; the 6m
             phase was spqnsored by the Government of China and took place in Bcij ing in 'May. By building
             the capacity of 'the staff' of the Afghan Ministry ofForeign Affairs, we-enhanced i1s
             professionalism and its ability to work cooperatively and ~ffectively '-'ith the U.S. government
             and other countries. as werl as )(GOs. media outlets. wuversilies, businesses. and religious
             institutions.

             lo the field ofpublk bealtb, since the displac1.:ment of the Taltoan, the Afghan.Ministry of
             Public Health has been successful in rebuilding the healthcare syStem with low cost, high impact
             intt:rventions. to improve the health of Afghans. primarily women and children. With substantial
             support fr(lm the United States and other donors, access to basic health services (defined as a
             person·s ability to t each a facility within one hour by foot) has risen frotn 9 percent in 200 I rn
             more than 60 percent today, and more than 22,000 health workers have been trained through
             multiple projects.

             According to the Afghanistan Monality SUtVey 2010, Afghanis.an hes seen a rise in life
             eig:,ectancy from 44 years 10 wore lhan 60, or an increase of 15-20 years, in the last decade. The
             i.:nder-five mortality rate has been reduced from 172 to 97 deaths per 1,000 bve births. The
             estimated maternal mortality ratio declined significantly from 1.600 per 100,000 births to 327
             per 100.000 births. The number of functioning primary health care facilities increased from 498
             in 2002 roover l.970 in ZOIO.

            The gains made in the health sector are due to a coordinal ed effort by the donor community in
            the earl y stages of the rebuilding effons. a f.ocus on providing low-cost basic health services, and
            a determination by the Afghans lo strengthen tbe Miaisuy of Public Health. These are long-t.tnn




SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                                         Page 35
                                                            - 3-


             programs that span multiple donors, and various comraccors and grantees over a decade of
             determined focus by the health teams at USAID and the international community in concert with
             the Afghan Government.

             In public fmaocial management, USAID's support has helped the Afghan government grow its
             internal revenue collection by almost 20 percent per year since 2002. Domestic revenue is
             critical to reduce the Afghan government' s reliance on fo.reigD asststance and to ptomote long-
             term sustainable growth through investment in infrastructure and services. Jn 20IO/ l l, domestic
             revenue reached $1.7 biUion or 11 percent of GDP, exceeding the IMF target of'9.2 percent per
             year. Revenue from Customs is the fasiest-growing segment, increasing mme than 400 pt:.rccnt
             since 2006. USAID's programs have assisted the Afghan government to develop a centrali7..ed
             Customs collection-system. contributing lo tl1e sharp increases in annual Customs revenue.s.
             Afghan domestic revenue collection bas underperformed in 2012, and U SA10 is working with
             the Ministry of Finance to identify potential reasons and remedial actions to address the shortfall.

             To promote the ro le of women iD Afghan politics, culture, Jlnd bu$iness, our work has helped
             Afghan women take on 1arger roles in society. Today, almost 20 percent of Afghans enrolled in
             higher education are women. Twenty seven percent of seats in ilie Parliament, one gove.rnor,
             three cabinet, and 120 judicial positions are now held by women. Hundreds of women's
             organizations are working to end violence and discrimination against women, and the Afghan
             Government has com mined to ensuring that by 2013 at least 30 percent of government
             employees are women.

             The Department of State's 8ur~u of lntemational Narcotics and Law Enforcement (I'NL) funds
             Women for Afgha.'l Women to operate Children's Support Centers (CSCs) in Kabul, Mazar-e
             Sharif. and Kunduz. The CSCs provide housing and educational services for children who
             would otherwise be in prison with their incarcerated mothers. The majority of these chi!cren
             have had little to no formal education prior to arriving. CSC-educated children are at the top of
             tbeit classes and some have been placed in advanced study programs abroad. Children are
             allowed to stay at the CSC until they rum 18 years of age (even after their mothers are released),
             allowing their mothers to have the time needed to construct a stable home environment !NL's
             commitment to helping these children improve their Ii ves has been key to the overall success of
             this program.

             l~L also supports the operations of nine women· s shelters across Afghanistan and the Afghan
             Women's Shelter Net.work, which brings together Afghan shelter providers to discuss best
             practices and advocate for victims. INL ' s support has expanded the number of provinces where
             services are available to victims of gender-based violence and discrimination and facilitated an
             Afghan-led campaign lO increase public acceptance ofwomen·s-shclters. We have seen an
             increase in government referrals to and political support for the shelters, indicating, that the
             Afghan government is starting to accept shelters as legitimate resources for women seeking legal
             and protective services. Shelters have been provided multi-year funding that extends into 2015.
             In 20 I 2, rNL-fimded shelters benefited approximately 2,000 women and children in 30 of
             Afghanistan's 34 provinces.




SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                                      Page 36
            To promote access to reliable electricity, USAID assistance has induded hydro-electric and
            solar facilities. and has focused on making the Afghan national power company (OA8S) self-
            sustaining. through increased revenue collection and increased efficiency. In 2002, only 6
            pc.rcent of Afghans bad access to reliable electricity. Today nearly 30 percent do, including
            more than 2 million people in Kabul who now benefit from electric power 24 hours a day.
            DABS has increased revenues counay-wide by roughly SO percent from 2010 to 2012. This
            represents hundreds of millions of dollars saved in subsidies from U.S. taxpayers aod other
            donors. The success of DABS over such a shon period of titne, four years, is a remarkable
            achievement.

            To promote good goveroaoce aod the rule of law in Af'.gbanistan, INL has, lhrough its
            implementing partner, assisted the General Directorate of Prisons and Detention Centers
            (GDP DC) in improving its capability to operate safe, secure, and humane Afghan correctional
            facilities. This is particularly important., given the sharp increases in arrests and prosecutions,
            which cau.<,ed tbe prison population to grow dramatically from 600 prisoners in 200 I to more
            t.'lan 27.000 in 2013. Despite poor infrasuucture., comparatively low sraff salaries, and a 17
            percent annual inmate growth rate, !he GDPDC has built and maintained humane facilities.
            worked to separate National Security Threat ()\ST) inmates from common criminals. and
            implemented standard operating procedures in line with international standards in an expanding
            number of prisons and detention centers. These improvements can be attributed in part to
            comprehensive hands-on mentoring and training by lNT: s Corrections System Support Program
            (CSSP). CSSP advisors h_ave trained 8,000 corrections officers since 2006, under cigorous
            oversight ftom JNL·s program managers and contracting personnel. INL's focus on training
            Afghan Government trainers not only created sustainable training capscity, but has resulted in
            the successful t.ransfer of 90 percent of all corrections training acti vities to the Afghan
            government, an important milestone in the development of GDPDC's capabilities.

            The State Department and USAID also provide training to the judicial sector and other elementS
            of Afghan criminal justice institutions, for example, through 1he State Department's work with
            the Justice Center in PaJWan (JCIP). The JClP is a special Afghan court for the adjudication -
            under Afghan law, and by Afghan judges, prosecutors and defonse coun~el - of criminal charges
            filed by Afghan authorities against fonner U.S. Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) detainees. The
            JClP is a partnership of the Afghan Supreme Court, Attorney General's Office, Ministry of
            Justice:, Ministry of the Interior, National Directorate of Security and Ministry of Defense, with
            support from Combined Joint Intera_gency Task Fc,,rce 435, the Australian Agency for
            International Development, and (KL.

            Coordinated U.S_ Government support enables the JCl? to hear thousands of cases and builds
            both the adjudicative capacity of the court and its personnel The JCIP did not exist three years
            ago. it heard its first case in.June 2010, Toe JCIP tried 31 primary court cases in 2010: 288 in
            2011 : 974 in 201~ and 780 inj ust the first four months of 2013. Even with its growing
            caseload, Afghan defense attorneys who have worked at the JC{P consistently describe the court
            as providing among. the fairest trials in Afghanistan. INL provides fonnal training, daily
            mentoring, and operational support co nearly I 00 Afghan judges. prosecutors, defense counsel.
            an.d investigators in evidence-based criminal investigations and prosecutions. In addition Lo




SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                                    Page 37
                                                              -5 -


             strengthening !he Afghans' abillty to Ir) the important national security cases at the JCIP I INL 's
             capacity-bui{cling support allows tbe~e legal professionals to take the skills. experiences. and
             lessons learned from the JCIP to their next assignments, expanding the impact of !NL 's suppor1
             across the Afghan justice system.

             The Department of State's Anti-Terrorism Assistance (ATA) program has built and developed
             the Presidential Protective Service (PPS) 1nto an effective dignitary protection unit. Beginning
             with the inception of the unit a year- after 9/ 11. the ATA program has provided training,
             equipment and mcntorship to several hundred PPS officers at the unit's camp facility. Not only
             has PPS rccci., ·ed extensive traioi.ug in tactical skills such as protection of national leadership.
             counter-assault. and defensive marksmanship. it has also institutionalized the wealth of
             info1111ation in those courses into irs own training structure. Through _participation in instructor
             development courses and ongoing work v,ith ATA advisors. PPS has developed the ability to
             train its own officers jn these specialized protective skills. In addition, Department of State-
             funded implementing partners have cleared more than 343.414,869 square meters of land and
             removed or destroyed approximately 8.049.260 landmines and other explosive remnants of war
             such as unexploded ordnance, abandoned ordnance, stockpiled munitions. and home-made
             explosives.

             Part ll: Problems and Solutions

             The programmatic achievements noted above represent just part of the progress achieveq by
             Afghanistan with the support and sacrifice of the United States and other donors over the past
             decade. Operating in a war-time environment means it is inevitable thar not every program has
             succeeded as originally intended. Delays, fraud, poor performance, security challenges.
             contractor oven:harges have been a loo-constant feature of doing business in Afghanistan - and
             many of the obstacles we have encountered have been well documented and have benefited from
             SIGAR"s oversight.

             To fight corruption, we have worked aggressively to provide training and pressed lhe Afghan
             government to address corruption on a systematic basis. l 'SAID is supporting the fight against
             corruption both in the way we do business. such as encouraging the use of mobile money to
             ensure wages are paid di.tectly into personal accounts. and through projects like the Assistance
             for Afghanistan-s Anticorruption Authority {4A). which supports the High Office of Oversight i..Tl
             the Afgl1an government to combat corruption.

             To improve tbe r11Ie of Jaw and fight criminal activities. USAID and the Department of State
             work together in several areas. Afghanistan' s rQle in the international drug trade - accounting
             for roughly 90 percent of heroin worldwide - contributes to increased crime, degrades the
             establishment ofgovcmance and the rule oflaw,. undercuts the licit economy, and undermines
             public health. USAlD and DepartmenL ofS1.ate are working to reduce poppy cultivation by
             strengthei,Jng the Afghan Government's capacity to combat the drug trade and countering the
             link between narcotics and the insurgency. USAID' s agricultural programs have helped
             establish 314,268 hectares with alternative crops, increased sales oflicit farm and non-fann




SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                                       Page 38
                                                            --0 -


             products by $273,333,642, benefited 2,519,420 families. and created 192.686 full-time
             cquivalt:ntjobs between FY 2008 - 2012.

             Growth of the nation's licjt economy is impeded by a largely iJliterate workforce that lacks vjtal
             technical skills. as well as credit and banking systems that are underdeveloped and fragile .
             .\1eanwbile. porous borders encourage unlawful trade. These challenges, -plus corruption and
             security concerns, contirtue to hinder physical and capita! investment. especiaUy by the private
             sector.

             Inadequate security-and a shortage of skilled technicians, eJtginee_rs and co_ostruction workers
             hinder lhe cOn$lruClion and maintenance of critical infras1ructure. Construction supplies often
             have to be imported. significantly increasing project costs.

             Across sectors, a persistent insurgency and difficult security environment have made the mission
             much harder, despite the strong presence of the international Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
             As an eitample, on one USAID road project. 19 people were killed while working on
             construction, and 364 security incidents were reported. Security dangers often slow progress, and
             daily activities are made more complicated by an aLmosph~e of opportunisro, corruption and
             lawlessness.

             To effectively monitor the use ohaxpayers' fWldS where there is a lack of capacity, USAID
             aJid State employ numerous oversight mechanisms at every project phase - from awarding the
             contract to reviewing payment claims. to overseeing the performance of our implementing
             partners. The Afghanistan mission uses these and more. In :emote, insecure areas. USA1D's
             monitoring and evaluation efforts are supplemented by third-parry evaluators. As you are aware.
             in addilion LO our work wilb your office, we also work with a variety of independent oversight
             entities, including the State and USArD Offices of the Inspectors General and the li.S.
             Government Accountability Office and share the goal of ensuring U.S. funding is not wasted or
             abused.

             In addition. by monitoring and evaluating o\J.lComes, we are constantly seeking new ways to
             ensure taxpayer dollars are being used most effectively, focusing on the return on our project
             investment. Administrator Shah issued Sustainability Guidance to ensure that C\.·ery USAID
             program supports increased Afghan ownership. contributes to stability. and makes the most. of
             limited funds. Department of State programs conduct similar analyses in developing proJects.

             ln Afghanistan. USA1D is stren1,nhening award mechanisms, vetting. financial controls and
             project oversight, working closely with our Afghan and 1SAF counterparts. On an interagency
             level, databases such as FACTS Info and Afghan Info allow USA.ID and the Department of State
             to share project infonnation, metrics, best practices and more. With Afghans. we have also
             lalUlched the Assistance for Afghanistan' s Anti-Corruption Authority series of initiatives to
             encourage transpareocy and accountabi lity. This includes helping the Afghan government
             develop a strong anti-corruption policy and establishing a_ioint committee with U.S. Forces-
             Afghanistan and 1SAF on contractor vetting and corruption.




SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                                    Page 39
                                                            -7-


             To ensure accountability, some projt'Cis are drastically altered ur funding !lopped.
             USAID's rigorous emphasis on evaluation led us to take a hard look ai the Strategic Provincial
             Roads project in eastern and southern Afghanistan. After three years, project outcomes were
             falling far·short of project objectives. To avoid continued investment of taxpayer funds into an
             under,performing program. USAID ended the project in fal 12011.

             In other cases, program benefits merit.ed continued investment-with strategic. recommendatio~
             for improvements. The National Solidarity Programme in Afghanistan had reached thousands of
             communities, but payment delays and operatmg risks in insecure areas threatened to limit future
             outreach. Today. U1e program tracks indicators of good governance, Stich as transparency and
             accoumability. an~ an inter-ministerial committee is e;,rploring the role existing community
             cievelopm~ntcouncils can play for expansion into insecure areas.

              In June 2009, after the Afghan Gov-emment took back control of its central prison from
             iilSurgc:nt inmates. INL began a comprehensive renovation. Poor contractor performance- and
             corruption led the Department to halt renovations and terminate the contract.. The problems with
             Liis project highlighted the need to have an adequate number of Contracting Officer
             Representatives (CORs), Governmental Technical Monitors (GTMs), enginee_rs. and program
             officers on the ground to proV1de oversight. Recognizing the need to improve oversight of
             construction projectS. £NL has significantly increased the number of U.S. and locally engaged
             (LE) engineers in Afghanistan and }las strengthened its re"iew and management policies.

             To promote dialogue among tribal elders and the Ministry of Border and Tribal Affairs, a State
             public diplomacy project planned to conduct jirgas and shuras with government and local
             leaders. However, the implementing partner, Afghan Comn1unity Consulting, was unable to
             obtain adequate cooperation from the Ministry of Border and Tribal Affairs, particularly with
             regard to oversight of funds, or evidence of the number of participants.and outcomes. When it
             was determined that adequate oversight could not be achieved on spending or outcomes, PAS
             Kabul termioa.ted the grant, suspc11ded future jirgas, and determined the amount of funds owed to
             lh.e embassy for incomplel.e work, which Were all returned.

             We appreciate this opportunity to highlight a number of our programmatic achievements with the
             Afghan government and people over the past decade, as well as to note 1hose areas where
             continuing attention is wananted given the challenges of operating in Afghanistan. We share
             SIGAK s goal of safeguarding U.S. taxpayer resources from fraud. waste, and abuse. and.
             advance while seeking the most effective uses of those resources in advancing our nation· s
             r.ational security through assistance progI2IDs iJ, Afghanistan. We look forward to working
             together to find ways to improve our oversightmec ·



             sts~1-lJ}L_
             Daniel Feldman                                             antler Thier
             Deputy Special Representative                        A istant to the Admirustrator
             for Afghanistan and Pakistan                         for Afghanistan and Pakistan




SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                                   Page 40
                            OFFICE OF T HE ASSISTANT SEC RETARY OF DEFENSE
                                              2700 DEFENSE PENTAGON




      •
                                             WASHINGTON, O .C. 20301-2700



      AS""'° ANO l'AC1f1C
      S£CURJr1' AFFAIIIS



                                                                    June 18, 2013

               Mr. John Sopko
               Special Inspector General for
               Afghanistan Reconstruction (SJGAR)
               1550 Crystal Drive
               Arlington. VA 22202

               Dear Mr. Sopko,

                       In response to your letter of March 25, 2013, the Department of Defense (OoD) reviewed
               reconstruction activities in Afghanistan and prepared the enclose,d overview ofsuccesses and
               challenges. The U.S., Coalition, and Afghan partners have reached a decisive milestone in the
               campaign. Later this month. the Afghan government and the ANSF will fonnally assume lead
               security responsibility across all of Afghanistan. This is the Afghans' greatest demonstration to
               date of real progress towards stability and sovereignty. The enclosed response provides an
               overview of what we have done to get to this point and some of the things we are focused on to
               sustain these gains.

                       The DoD reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan aim to expand securit) and stability in
              order to achieve our core objectives: to ensure al Qaeda never again uses it as a safe haven to
              conduct international terrorists attacks and to ensure the Taliban do not overthrow the Afghan
              GovenunenL Since the initiation o f the campaign in Afghanistan. the DoD has provide.d support
              to a wide range ofreconstruction activities with impact on the security, economic, and
              governance sectors. Many reconstruction programs are conducted together with other U.S.
              agencies and Coalition partners as part of the integrated civil-military campaign. Typically,
              reconstruction programs are evaluated on an individual basis according to program-specific
              criteria and their contribution towards our broader objectives in Afghanistan. Our main meLrics
              for how we are achieving these objectives are specifie.d in statute and are reported on in our
              semi-annual " Repon on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan." We aJso
              provide extensive infonnation for your quarterly reports to Congress on these efforts.

                      The enclosed infonnation on the DoO priority reconstruction activities highlights
              progress and challenges experienced in the development of the Afghan National Security Forces
              (ANSF) and select infrastructure programs. The response reviews the positive impact ofDoD
              efforts to grow, train, and equip the ANSF and identifies capability shortfalls that persist lt also
              highlights the social. economic and security benefits that accrue from a multitude ofDoD-funded
              inlTastructure projects while acknowledging the challenges that remain. including growing the
              capacity of the Afghan government to sustain critical infrastructure.




SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                                       Page 41
                     Thank you for the opportunity to provide this assessment of ongoing reconstruclion
             projects and programs in Afghanistan. We want to ensure lhat American taxpayers are getting
             the results they expect from our recoos1ruc1ion effons in Afghanistan. We appreciate the
             imponant role that the Special Inspector General plays to promote the efficiency and
             effectiveness of those programs and operations, and we will continue to work together to ensure
             proper oversight and accountability of government funds,




                                                          ~k9~  Mil<eDumont
                                                                Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
                                                                Asian & Pacific Security Affairs




             Attachments; Department of Defense Response to SJOAR March 25 Inquiry




SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                                 Page 42
                            Department of Uefeose Response to SlGAR March 25 Inquiry


            Security Sector Reconstruction

            Among the multiple Lines of effort in Afghanistan, the Departmeut of Defense' s central effort has
            been the development of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) into a force capable of
            asswning lead security responsibility throughout Afghanistan and providing for its own internal
            security. As a result of the concerted effon by the Afghans, U.S. and Coalition partners, we have
            seen a significant turnaround in the security sector in Afghanistan.

            As of late 2002, the Afghan government did not have legitimate control of any of the security
            elements in Afghanistan. The Afghan National Army (ANA) was established in early 2003.
            followed In 2005 by the Afghan National Police (ANP). but for years both suffered from poor
            leadership. low training standards. inadequate equipment and the absence of a sustainment
            system. As of2009, the ANSF still lacked combat capability to meet its internal security
            requirements. The combined military and police forces totaled approximately 200,000, and the
            mission was largely confined to guard duty at static check-points. The ANSF lacked hardened
            vehicles. possessed Hmjted fire support with oo indirect engagement capability and had
            rudimentary aircraft with no casualty evacuation capability. They were funher constrained by
            insufficient ammunition, small anns and a minimal ability to resupply. The ANSF throughout
            Afghanistan were understrength, fragmented, and devoid of the basic skills necossary to
            coordinate operations at echelons above the kandak or battalion level. The ANSF' were not
            capable of securing Afghanistan, and U.S. and Coalition forces bore nlmost all the burden- and
            casualties-of this mission.

             lo late 2009, with President Ob;lma' s announcement of the U.S. troop surge. a concerted Coalition
             effon to grow the ANSF was initfated, with the goal of generating and fielding trained and equipped
             Afghan combat elements capable of pushing back the Taliban and establishing security in populated
             areas. A combined ANSF and fotemational Security Assistance Force (ISAF) partnership
             established lraining programs and an equipping plan to rapidly develop ANSF combat capabilities.
             Unit partnering between Afghan and JSAF forces, enabled by the troop surge, provided the space lo
             develop ANSF capabilities und leadership skills from the tactical level op. This resulted in a current
             force of over 340,000 military and police personnel with proven capabilities in counterinsurgency
             operations with increasing coordination across the Army, Police, and intelligence personnel.
             Although nascenl, the ANA has demonstrated an emerging ability lo conduct more complex
             combined arms operations by synchronizing infantry, artillery and other combat capabilities at the
             Corps/Brigade level. In some areas, the ANSF have implemented a layered security concept that
             decreases vulnerabilities in any single arm of the force by leveraging the capabiLilies of the entire
             force (e.g., Afghan Local Police {ALP), ANA Special Operations Forces (ANASOF), ANA. ANP,
             Afghan Border Police (ABP), National Directorate of Security (NDS), etc.), providing security to the
             Afghan people with minimal or no assistance from the Coalition.

             The ANSF, and especially the ANA. have made remarkable progress, particularly since early 2012.
             In late 2012, the ANA had no corps/division headquarters and only one of 1he 23 Afghan National
             Army (ANA) brigade headquarters capable of conducting independent operations. Today the ANA




SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                                        Page 43
            has one corps/division headquaners, five brigade headquarters and 27 battalions capable of operating
            independently. Another six ANA Corps/Divisions. 16 ANA Brigades and 71 battalions are rated as
            "Effective with Advisors." ANP units have also improved, with 44 units rated es " Independent with
            Advisors" end a further 86 units rated as "Effective with Advisors."' The growing ANA Special
            Operations Command (ANASOC) has also made strides towards becoming a11 independent and
            effective force -with the vast majority of ANA special opel'ations forces (SOF) missions. to include
            night operations, being Afghan-led. The ANSF are now leading over 80 percent of total operations
            and carrying out many unilaterally. ISAF unilateral operations account for less than 10 percent of
            total operations nationwide. and in many provinces, ISAF unilateral operations account for less than
            I percent. The Afghan govcrnmem will soon announce Milestone 201'.3: recognizing. the Afghan
            assumption of secuJ'ity lead for I00 percent of the population and the International Security
            Assistance Force (!SAP) will shift to an advisor-support role.

             A few areas of development are highlighted below to show the impact of the cowbined U.S. and
             Coalition forces security force assistance programs to the ANSF:

             •   Build. The ANSF have grown 73 pcrct:nt in overall numbers since 2009. This growth is
                 extraordinary given that theANSF have been actively engaged in combat operations while
                 building the force. ln addition, the Afghan Local Police. a village-based security program
                 administered by Ministry of rmerior (Mo!) and aimed at expanding security and governance,
                 has also grown at a steady pace from 3, I00 in January 2011 to over 21,000 in March 20 J3.
                 An emerging ANSr maneuver capability is the Mobile Strike Force (MSF), an armored,
                 wheel-based platform conceived to rapidly reinforce infantry units. The fielding of seven
                 MSF kandak.s has begun and is projected to be complete by December 2014,

             •   Equippiog. The total Afghan security forces consist of six ANA combat corps, an
                 ANASOC, which includes an Atghan Special Mission Wing, hundreds of ANP units, and an
                 ALP equipped with more than 14,700 up-armored vehicles: 68.900 other combat support
                 vehicles; half a million pieces of weaponry, including more than 1,500 indi rcct-fire weapons:
                 193,000 pieces of communications equipment; IO,SOO night-vision devices; and a growing
                 counter-lED capability consisting of24 Route Clearance Company units with 457 mine
                 rollers.

             • Training development. Through professional development branch schools, including !he
               National Military Academy of Afghanistan, and institulional training centers, including the
               premier Kabul Military Training Center (KMTC). the ANSF have received leadership and
               lechnical training to develop the capabilities needed to sustain the force. To augment
               training capacity, the ANA and ANP are using mobile training teams to provide professional
               training to personnel fielded without training at branch schools. In accordance with the
               overall Transition, the ANSF developed a self'..training capability, via the "Train the


             1 "lndcpcndeol    with Adv,sora'' is defined as the unit being able to plan and execute its mission and. if necessaiy, can
             call for 11nd integrate joint effects from Coulilion forces. "Effective with Advisors" menns that the Coalition provides
             only limited, occasionul guid11nce to stuff and may prov1d~ enablers that are missing from higher or lower ANSI-'
             units.




SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                                                            Page 44
                 Instructor" program and have grown their number of instructors by 60% since 2010. The
                 ANSF now conducts 85 percent of all training, including all basic courses.

             •   Sustainment. The ability of the Afghan forces to supply and sustain themselves remains a
                 significant challenge and is a focus ofcummt DoD assistance. As their capabilities develop,
                 the ANSF are gradually taking responsibility for combat service support and sustainment
                 responsibilities, including distribution, maintenance, ammunition management, fuel and other
                 classes of supply at the national and regional logistics nodes and institutions. Several classes
                 of supply including Class I Subsistence (food and water), Class II Individual Equipment
                 (clothing), Class IV (construction materiel), and Class VI (personal items) have already been
                 fully transitioned to ANSF control. For the MoD, the Central Movemeni Agency ICMA)
                 conduct monthly resupply missions to the ANA forces on their own from the Central Supply
                 Depot (CSD).

            •    Literacy. Widespread Afghan illiteracy also poses a challenge for developing the ANSF into
                 a sustainable force with the requisite technical and leadership skills. Literacy training efforts
                 for the ANSF have been expansive to tackle this issue. Between November 2009 and April
                 2013, over 194,000 ANSF personnel passed some level of Dari and/or Pashto literacy and
                 numeracy training. including over 57,000 who have achieved Level 3 literacy. As of April
                 20J3, over 73.000 ANSF personnel are in some fonn ofliteracy training.

             •   Ministerial development. The Ministries of Defense and Interior must have the capacity to
                 organize, resource. train, and sus1ain their forces, and to exercise command and control over
                 them. With the ANSF force structure nearly complete, 1he DoD is focused on minislerial
                 development and is adjusting an existing program to deploy DoD functional experts to help
                 develop crucial ministry capabilities. such as. resource management; acquisition; contracting;
                 strategy and policy development: and human resources management.

            While the ANSF have demonstrated remarkable progress, shortfalls persist in some enabler areas,
            including command and control, intelligence fusion, logistics, counter-lED, fire support, and air
            support. Having realized the goal of growing and equipping the ANSF into a force capable of
            assuming the lead security role, we have shifted emphasis to increasing the quality and
            professionalism of the ANSF. As we move beyond combat operation capability to more technical
            areas, we are building off the literacy improvement to increase professionalism, upgrade intelligence
            capability and improve the sustairunent systems (including logistics and maintenance), Many of the
            units that remain to be fielded are specialty unjts and critical enablers and will require more time to
            receive training that is more technical in nature. The DoD developed a plan to accelerate the
            development of enabler capabilities, including expanded training in logistics, maintenance.
            engineering, and intelligence. The FYl4 DoD budget request for Afghan Security Forces Fund
            includes $2.6B to support this effort.

            The progress made by the ISAF-led surge has put the /\fghan government in control of all
            Afghanistan's major cities and 34 provincial capitals. JSAF's foros is now shifting from directly
            fighting the insurgency to supporting the ANSF in holding these gains. Through the !SAP
                                                    n
            Secunty Force Assistance Team (SFA concept of train, advise, and assis1, we expect the




SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                                        Page 45
            ANSF will take full security responsibility for Afghanistan while simultaneously gaining
            proficiency in combat enablers and combat service support systems.

             Construction and lnfrasc-.-ucture Development

            The Department of Defense has also provided support to numerous projects and programs
            focused on developing civilian and military infrastructure that enable social, economic.
            govemance, and security improvements that bring stability lo Afghanistan. These efforts help
            strengthen the connection between the Afghan population and the district. provincial and
            national governments. facilitate access to security. healthcare and commerce, and help maintain
            security and stability gains. Below are some illustrative project and program highlights of the
            impact these activities have had and the benefit they provide to the overall mission:

            Security Sector Infrastructure

            ISAF is nearing completion of its infrastructure building program for the ANSF, which will
            deliver the final 429 projects by December 2014 and result in a program end state of more than
            3,900 separate structures, valued at $9.4 billion, built for both the Ministry of Defense and
            Ministry of Interior. These include national and regional headquarters, military hospitals, training
            centers and schools, and forward operating bases, and have helped expand the reach of the
            security, governmental. and medical services. This program is continuously reviewed 10 ensure
            that the current infrastruct\ll'e projects are still valid requirements, and has resulted in the
            reduction in total cost of the ANSF program from the originally planned $11.38 billion to $9.41
            billion. As these projects come to completion, facility maintenance will be a challenge. Doth
            ANSF organic capability and contracting support to maintain facilities are still nascent and the
            number of assigned facility engineers for both MoD and Mol are below targets. As a bridging
            strategy. the U.S. Arm}' Corps ofEngineers (USACE) provides facility maintenance and training
            for a period ofup to six months following construc1ion completion, allowing time to build the
            capabilities of assigJ1ed Afghan engineers.

             Civil Sector Reco11struclion

            The DoD recognizes education as a priority for im:reasing security and stability and continues to
            use the Commander's Emergency Response Fund (CERP) lo advance development in this area.
            The DoD has obligated more than $230 million in CERP funds to support more than 4000
            projects aimed at improving the edu1..-atioo of Afghan students, including building and
            refurbishing schools, and the purchase and distribution of millions of textbooks for math,
            science. lang\lage, civics, history, and cultural studies.

             CERP projects in Farah highlight these contributions. A series of schools were built in Farah
             province over the past few years and are successfully staffed and maintained by t.he Afghan
             ministry of education, including Zehken School, Lash Juwain High School, Qala Zaman High
             School, Mirman Nazo High School, Runaakha School, and the Pir Kunder School.

             -   Zehken Girls School Project. A school built specifi~lly for lhe education of girls in the
                 northwestem district of Anar Dara in Farah province was completed in July of2009 and bas




SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                                     Page 46
                 been educating girls in Anar Dara ever since. Teachers and building maintenance are
                 supplied by the Ministry of Education.

                 Lash Juwain High School Project. This secondary school huilt in the southwestern district of
                 Lash Juwwn is one of the few High Schools in the region. 1t was completed in 2008 and has
                 continuously educated students since then.

                 Runaakha Girls School Project. TI1is girls' school was built in the First District of Farah City
                 in 2006 and has been continuously used and maintained since then.

             In the first qunner of20 J 3, the DoD funded the procurement and delivery of desks and chairs for
             students in Mazar-e..Sharifwho would otherwise sit on classroom floors due to overcrowding,
             As the operational environment has matured with more emphasis on stabilization and enabling
             governance, suppon for education programs is even more critical, especially for increasing the
             role of women within the Afghan government and society.

            The DoD bas also provided substantial support to building and refurbishing healthcare facilities
            throughout Afghanistan, and recently completed the construction of a small district hospital in
            Shindand that brings a h.igher level of medical care to over 240,000 Afghans.

            The DoD has played a key role in providing increased electrical power to the restive areas of
            Kandahar and Helmand provinces. The Kandahar Bridging Solution, initiated through CERP,
            and maintained with the Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund, rapidly provided additional electricity
            to the Kandahar City area helping to increase stability and security in the area, Tite powet
            project increased the availability and reliability of electricity to hundreds of thousands of
            residents and facilitates employment, communication, ht:althcare, education and industry. While
            in 2010 there were only three factories in the Shorandam Industrial Park powered by their own
            small generators, there are now roughly 66 factories in Shorandam with the additional power
            made available through the Kandahar Bridging Solution.

            finally. the DoD supports the development of road infrastnicmre. Improving the Afg.han·s
            ability to move freely around the country (both civilians and military) via paved road network is
            an important part of establishing and maintaining stability and security. enhancing economic
            <leveloprnent and improving the lives oflhe Afghan populace. The DoD has successfully built
            and refurbished a number of roads throughout Afghanistan. One prime example is the Nawa to
            Lashkar Gab road paving project in the southwest, funded by lhe Afghanistan Infrastructure
            Fund. which provides an important link between Nawa and the provincial capital of Lashkar
            Gab. The highly successful paved road has increased security for the population, and improved
            access for many residents to the more sophisticated health care offered in Lashkar Gah. The
            road is also bolstering commerce between the two cities, decreasing the delivery time for
            perishable goods. and facilitating increased overall economic acttvity throughout the region.

             While the Afghan government continues to develop the capability and capacity to sustwn
             transportation networks and power infrastructure. the ministries responsible for maintaining th.is
             critical infrastructure still require continued trairung and assistance to adequately execute an
             Operations and Maintenance plan on the scale required for Afghanistan. tdentlfication,




SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                                      Page 47
            budgeting, and financing of externally financed assets will be a challenge facing transition. The
            Afghan government will have to maintain the politicaJ will for refom1s to grow internal capacity
            in order to sustain existing infrastructure. Improvements in capacity will support both the
            budgeting processes for O&M costs, as well as the disbursement of the budget throughoul the
            year, increasing the likelihood of sustainability for assets and service delivery.




SIGAR 20-19-TY                                                                                                  Page 48