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A scathing new report from a US watchdog says Washington wasted billions of dollars in war-ravaged Afghanistan on buildings and vehicles either abandoned or destroyed.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), which monitors US taxpayers' money splurged on the long-drawn-out war, in a report released on Monday highlights massive US policy failures in Afghanistan, a country it invaded two decades ago.

The agency says it reviewed $7.8 billion spent in the South Asian country since 2008 on buildings and vehicles, out of which only $1.2 billion were used judiciously.

The report states that only $343.2 million worth of buildings and vehicles “were maintained in good condition,” pointing to rampant corruption and gross negligence on the part of US agencies involved in the country.

Quote:“The fact that so many capital assets wound up not used, deteriorated or abandoned should have been a major cause of concern for the agencies financing these projects,” John F. Sopko, the US special inspector general, is quoted in the report.

SIGAR, which was instituted by the US Congress in 2008 to provide oversight into billions of dollars outflow in America’s longest war, has published regular reports highlighting staggering fraud and waste.

Quote:Sopko, in the latest report, says the US agencies responsible for construction “didn’t even ask the Afghans if they wanted or needed the buildings they ordered built, or if they had the technical ability to keep them running,” showing how the US has unilaterally carried out its so-called “reconstruction” works in the country with sinister motives.

The waste took place in contravention of “multiple laws stating that U.S. agencies should not construct or procure capital assets until they can show that the benefiting country has the financial and technical resources and capability to use and maintain those assets effectively,” he notes.

The US invasion of Afghanistan, now into its 20th year, has had a devastating impact on the country with militant groups refusing to end the fight against what they call foreign occupation of the country.

The US and its coalition partners have faced blistering criticism over lack of exit strategy from the conflict-torn nation, despite growing realization that the war is ‘unwinnable’.

The new US administration plans to review the agreement reached between the Trump administration and the Taliban that calls for the ouster of foreign forces from Afghanistan by May 2021.

While the presence of US troops in Afghanistan has brought only death and destruction, it has also paved the way for rampant corruption and abuse of power, as illustrated by regular SIGAR reports.

Between 2002 and 2019, the US Congress approved $134bn for Afghanistan. Of the $63bn audited by SIGAR, over 30 percent was lost to waste, fraud and corruption.

Quote:Sopko, speaking at the Georgetown University in 2015, expressed his angst in these words: “If I am doing my job and being the good umpire that I was appointed to be, all I am seeing is a modus operandi that is woefully out of touch at best, and delusional at worst.”