US should hit the 'pause' button on Afghan aid: Watchdog
WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The United States (US) government should reconsider whether to spend more on reconstruction aid in Afghanistan, the US watchdog who monitors the funds said on Wednesday, citing Afghanistan's persistent corruption and inability to manage projects as US troops withdraw.
Mr John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghan reconstruction, said US$20 billion (S$25 billion) in US assistance for Afghanistan had been appropriated but not yet spent. Nearly US$10 billion more in aid may soon be approved by Congress.
Mr Sopko asked whether any of this money should be released. A growing number of projects built with US assistance in Afghanistan are now in insecure areas as US troops withdraw, putting them beyond the reach of American auditors to safely visit, he said.
"We have the opportunity to hit the pause button" as US troops are pulling out, Sopko told a House of Representatives committee. "It's an important opportunity to stop and reassess all of that money that hasn't been spent, and make the determination, is it worth the risk?"