3 May 2016

Afghan I.G. Report: Neither Pentagon Nor Afghan Government Know How Many Soldiers and Police Are On Duty

April Quarterly Report, “Security: The Eroding Bedrock”

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR)

April 30, 2016

Today, SIGAR released its 31st (April 2016) Quarterly Report to Congress.

The report notes:

– The opening section titled “Security: The Eroding Bedrock,” notes that SIGAR’s work indicates five major challenges that confront U.S. efforts to develop the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) into a force capable of defending the country: (1) limited oversight visibility, (2) questionable force-strength numbers, (3) unreliable capability assessments, (4) limited on-budget assistance capacity, and (5) uncertain long-term sustainability.

– With fewer forces in theater, the United States military has lost much of its ability to make direct observations, provide tactical mentoring, and collect reliable information on ANDSF capability and effectiveness.

– SIGAR’s assessment that neither the United States nor its Afghan allies know how many Afghan soldiers and police actually exist, how many are in fact available for duty, or, by extension, the true nature of their operational capabilities, is troubling.

– SIGAR is concerned that measures of ANDSF capabilities and effectiveness have never been very reliable and are getting worse.

– The U.S. ability to influence operational outcomes on the ground is constricting, while ANDSF capability has not correspondingly risen.

– Under the current plan to make further reductions in U.S. force strength, the ANDSF will be increasingly left with capability gaps in air support, signals, intelligence, and other areas.

– Afghanistan’s lack of security also hinders SIGAR and other agencies in providing oversight for the reconstruction effort.

– Maintaining the ANDSF at an authorized strength of 352,000 personnel costs about $5 billion a year. With the Afghan economy under great stress and facing years of low growth, Afghanistan’s difficulty in contributing significantly to its security costs will persist.

– Congress has appropriated approximately $113.17 billion for Afghanistan reconstruction, and of that amount approximately $10 billion remains to be disbursed.

– Security funding represents 60% ($68 billion) of the 15-year total devoted to reconstructing Afghanistan.

– DOD reports that 26 (6.4%) of Afghanistan’s provincial districts were under insurgent control or influence, another 94 (23.1%) were at risk, and 287 (70.5%) were directly under Afghan government control or influence.

– DOD reported several highlights within each Essential Function area, many of which raised concerns about the current status of the MOD, MOI, and ANDSF. The highlights show significant challenges remain in developing Essential Functions.

– Donors are expected to finance approximately 68% of the Afghan government’s current $6.5 billion budget.

– This quarter, President Ashraf Ghani requested SIGAR’s assistance with his government’s efforts to repatriate funds stolen from Kabul Bank.

Full Quarterly Report: https://www.sigar.mil/pdf/quarterlyreports/2016-04-30qr.pdf

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