As U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan withdraw to their post-2014 minimums, many fear a similar sharp drop in foreign funding. The reconstruction effort is far from over, and a radical reduction in foreign aid could cripple the Afghan economy. As personnel withdraw, concerns are also being raised about how the ongoing international funding will be put to use.
The Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) is tasked with overseeing reconstruction efforts and protecting the U.S. investment of aid dollars, and is therefore at the center of this dilemma. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hosted a discussion with Special Inspector General John F. Sopko on the role of reconstruction oversight and the release of a new SIGAR report addressing high-risk areas for reconstruction in post-2014 Afghanistan. Sarah Chayes moderated.
John F. Sopko
John F. Sopko was sworn in as Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction on July 2, 2012. Sopko was appointed to the post by U.S. President Barack Obama and has more than 30 years of experience in oversight and investigations as a prosecutor, congressional counsel, and senior federal government advisor. He came to SIGAR from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, an international law firm headquartered in Washington, D.C., where he had been a partner since 2009.
Sarah Chayes is a senior associate in the Democracy and Rule of Law and South Asia programs at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Formerly special adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, she lived and worked in Afghanistan for a decade and is an expert on kleptocracy and anti-corruption.