SIGAR states reintegration and economy as primary risks for Afghanistan

The Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction SIGAR has raised concerns that Afghanistan will still remain under the dependence of foreign donors and international assistance even after it entered into a peace deal with Taliban. The watchdog monitors the US aid to the country which is around billions of dollars. John Sopko, the head of SIGAR has stated that “A peace agreement would be welcome by the long-suffering Afghan people. But it could bring its own challenges to sustaining what the United States, coalition partners and the Afghan government have achieved”.

Washington has been involved in the longest war of US history in Afghanistan where it has been fighting the Taliban for over two-decades. The battle has seen death of over tens of thousands of civilians ever since it began in 2001. There has been a great shift in the stance of both the sides as in recent months, both US and Taliban have conducted many rounds of peace talks thereby raising hopes for putting an end to the long-running war. The latest round was conducted at the capital of Qatar, Doha. If the peace deal was struck, the biggest problem as recognised by SIGAR was the reintegration of Taliban fighters and their families back into the Afghan society. Latter is a huge task considering the spread of insecurity, underdeveloped capability of civil policing, endemic corruption, slow economy and a growing trade in opium and lastly the threat to rights of women.

Most of the reconstruction effort of US has gone for rebuilding the Afghan army and not much has been done for the police. Thus, there is a growing need for building up a competent police force which will initially be sustained by foreign assistance. Another notable point is that corruption has marred most of the efforts of reconstruction and still remains the primary strategic threat to the legitimacy of the government.

It is expected that the donor nations will finance nearly 51 percent of Afghanistan’s 2019 government spending plan of 5 billion dollars although the capabilities of Afghan government are still weak and it lacks the courage and ability to manage the donor funds appropriately. Ever since 2002, US has spent $132 billion on training of Afghan forces thereby strengthening other institutions and initiatives. President Trump has repeated stated his desire to end the US involvement in Afghanistan where still nearly 14,000 US troops are deployed.

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