WASHINGTON — A new report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) says that the government has taken little action to address Afghan corruption since a similar report in 2010 found that a draft strategy to deal with the problem had been stalled at the State Department.
“We found that the U.S. anti-corruption activities in Afghanistan are not guided by a comprehensive U.S. strategy or related guidance that defines clear goals and objectives for U.S efforts to strengthen the Afghan government’s capability to combat corruption and increase accountability,” the report states.
The report, published to coincide with the 12th anniversary of 9/11, continues:
The Department of State (State) never finalized the draft 2010 U.S. anti-corruption strategy for Afghanistan and, according to agency officials, the draft strategy and its related implementation plan are no longer in effect. In the absence of a relevant and specific anti-corruption strategy, agency officials informed us that two documents guide their current anti-corruption efforts in Afghanistan: the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework and the U.S. Civil-Military Strategic Framework for Afghanistan. However, we found that both documents lacked specific goals and objectives with measurable outcomes for anti-corruption activities against which the U.S. government can measure its progress. This evidence suggests that the U.S. government lacks a comprehensive anti-corruption strategy that (1) clearly links specific program goals and objectives to the U.S. strategic goals and objectives for combating corruption in Afghanistan, (2) aligns necessary interagency resources to achieve those strategic goals and objectives, and (3) describes the performance measures that will be used to assess anti-corruption activities and their outcomes against the strategic objectives.
SIGAR’s report has elicited a response from the State Department, which “is developing a targeted set of anti-corruption objectives, benchmarks, and plans against which U.S. efforts and resources will be directed and assessed,” the report states.
The watchdog’s report from 2010 delineated many of the same problems.
Afghanistan is one of the most corrupt nations in the world, ranking at the very bottom of Transparency International’s Corruption Index (tied with North Korea and Somalia). A report by the Defense Department recently said that failure “to reduce corruption that threatens the sustainability of the Afghan state.” Concerns have mounted as next year’s Afghan pullout nears.