Today, SIGAR released an audit of the $488 million in U.S. assistance to Afghanistan’s mining, oil, and gas industry, administered by DOD’s Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO), $282 million, and USAID, $206 million.
The audit found:
–TFBSO, State, and USAID failed to coordinate and prioritize their extractives activities, resulting in divergent strategies and poor working relationships, and creating potential sustainability problems.
–One senior official from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul stated that the embassy did not become aware of a $39.6 million TFBSO project until Afghan government officials thanked the Ambassador for U.S. support.
–Afghan Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP) still lacks the technical capacity to research, award, and manage new contracts without external support.
–MoMP officials stated that, they are unaware of what USAID’s Mining Investment and Development for Afghan Sustainability program training has accomplished, or will accomplish, for their staff.
–Due to staff turnover and possible funding issues, it is uncertain if any of TFBSO’s or USAID’s capacity building efforts at MoMP will be sustained.
–No U.S. agency has any plans to provide continued monitoring, evaluation, or support for TFBSO extractive initiatives and there is a significant risk that TFBSO investments in developing Afghanistan’s extractive industries will go to waste.
–USAID and State officials stated that their agencies would not be continuing any TFBSO initiatives because their leaderships were not interested in doing so.
–Neither TFBSO nor State nor USAID adequately explained, in writing, the reasons why no TFBSO initiatives would be transferred to State or USAID, as required by the NDAA for fiscal year 2011.
–USAID and State considered some TFBSO initiatives, such as the Sheberghan-Mazar Pipeline, to be liabilities due to safety concerns, lack of sustainability, and other problems.
–USAID has not developed plans detailing how the planned capacity building efforts will be sustained following the conclusion of their projects.
–One USAID official told SIGAR that it would take the U.S. government “a hundred years” to build the necessary infrastructure and fulfill training requirements to completely develop Afghanistan’s extractive industries.