US lawmakers question Afghanistan spending

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Washington—As the United States prepares to mark 15 years since the start of the US-led offensive in Afghanistan next month (October 7), American lawmakers are questioning the continuing military and humanitarian spending aimed at trying to end the war and stabilize the government.
Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee expressed concern over the progress of the war, and the effectiveness of programmes aimed at rooting out corruption.
Richard Olson, special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan at the U.S. State Department, said the U.S. gives Afghanistan about $5 billion per year — $4 billion in support of the Afghan national security defence forces and roughly another billion in the form of civilian assistance.
But Senator Corker expressed his concern that year after year, the U.S. continues to spend similar amounts of money in Afghanistan — the fruit of which may not be immediately seen by the American people.
Donald Sampler Jr., assistant to the administrator of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs at USAID, stressed the importance of ensuring order and a certain threshold of quality of life.
“Overlaying that with our national security interests, coming from a military background, ungoverned spaces are the worst possible thing we could allow to reemerge,” Sampler said. “So supporting the government of Afghanistan and supporting their ability to govern their own space and doing that proactively to prevent insurgencies rather than having to counter them is in my opinion a good investment.”—INP