Creating Accountability in Afghanistan
By early 2019, the United States had contributed $132 billion to the Afghan reconstruction. John Sopko, in his role as the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR), was in charge of providing accountability for U.S. aid funding. Sopko's oversight faced severe limitations such as a growing on-budget assistance, pervasive corruption, and lack of transportation, infrastructure, and security for his staff. To fight those odds, SIGAR has implemented multiple strategies with relative success. For example, cultivating a network of sources and informants had allowed SIGAR to save the U.S. over $200 million from a fuel contract bid-rigging scheme. The SIGAR Fraud Hotline had received and reviewed over 3,200 reports. However, with the Afghan presidential elections and peace talks looming on the horizon, Sopko was wondering how SIGAR would have to adapt to a new reality that could potentially be much worse.