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State Sends $18.2 Million to Fight Opium in Afghanistan

8:41 AM, Feb 15, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
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Ultimately, however, the question will be how far and where U.S. personnel can safely travel. As the area in which we are unable to conduct oversight grows, many of our programs may be exposed to increased risk of fraud, waste, and abuse–especially if we increase direct assistance to the Afghan government without first imposing strict pre-conditions on the Afghan government to  permit effective oversight of these funds by U.S. personnel.  

Follow-up on the State Department's Good Performers Initiative Awards certainly will be similarly impacted.  The press release notes the source of the funds and the method of administration:

The Department of State’s Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs funds GPI, and Afghanistan’s Ministry of Counter Narcotics works with each province to design and implement development projects using GPI funds. 

As John Sopko also noted:

[A]ccording to the Afghan Coalition of Transparency and Accountability, the budget submitted by the Ministry of Finance this quarter contained no allocations for combating corruption despite the international community’s demand that the ministry make governmental integrity a priority.

If the Afghan government resists accountability and fighting corruption while the U.S. still has tens of thousands of troops on the ground in the country, there is little reason to believe that the situation will improve as the troop numbers dwindle.  As the U.S. war winds down, it seems likely opium production will quickly wind back up.

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