Afghan Collapse Follows Expensive, Mistake-Riddled US Reconstruction Effort: Watchdog

The collapse of the Afghan government followed a mistake-riddled U.S. mission to reconstruct the country after invading in 2001 shortly after 9/11, a watchdog said Tuesday. “If the goal was to rebuild and leave behind a country that can sustain itself and pose little threat to U.S. national security interests, the overall picture is bleak,” John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), wrote in the 140-page report (pdf). Sopko’s team performed more than 760 interviews and reviewed thousands of government documents to produce the report, as part of a body of work that included criminal investigations that led to 160 convictions. The United States spent $145 billion trying to rebuild Afghanistan and its institutions while the Department of Defense spent an additional $837 billion on the war there since U.S. troops landed in October 2001. U.S. goals included eliminating al-Qaeda, decimating the Taliban, building Afghan security forces, and …

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