The Pentagon’s $675 million, four-year effort to boost the business sector in Afghanistan was a poorly conceived program that failed to meet its objectives in such projects as cashmere goat farming and pomegranate storage, a watchdog agency said.
About half of the funding for the program went for administrative costs rather than actual projects and, in the end, there were no reliable data to show that the effort “created jobs, facilitated foreign direct investments, increased exports, or increased Afghan government revenues,” according to a report released Tuesday by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).
The report focused on the DoD’s Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO), which was charged with carrying out economic development projects in Afghanistan from 2010 through 2014.
From the start, it was “clear that TFBSO was unable to accomplish its overall goals. Specifically, the lack of a clear mission and strategy combined with poor coordination, planning, contracting, and oversight led to conflict with [other] U.S. agencies and waste,” the report said.