The hugely expensive U.S. attempt at nation-building in Afghanistan has had only limited success and may not survive an American withdrawal, according to the findings of a two-year congressional investigation to be released Wednesday.
The report, prepared by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Democratic majority staff
, comes as Congress and the American public have grown increasingly restive about the human and economic cost of the decade-long war and reflects growing concerns about Obama’s war strategy even among supporters within his party.
The report describes the use of aid money to stabilize areas the military has cleared of Taliban fighters — a key component of the administration’s counterinsurgency strategy
— as a short-term fix that provides politically pleasing results. But it says that the enormous cash flows can overwhelm and distort local culture and economies, and that there is little evidence the positive results are sustainable.
Because oversight is scanty, the report says, the fund encourages corruption. Although the U.S. plan is for the Afghan government to eventually take over this and other programs, it has neither the management capacity nor the funds to do so.
The report also warns that the Afghan economy could slide into a depression with the inevitable decline of the foreign military and development spending that now provides 97 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.