The U.S. and NATO have promised to pay $4 billion a year until 2024 to finance Afghanistan’s military and security forces, which are struggling to contain an advancing Taliban. Reports show that the U.S. has spent nearly $89 billion over the past 20 years to build, equip and train Afghan forces.
Throughout the war, U.S. air support has been a crucial edge for Afghan forces on the battlefield. So building Afghan capabilities to carry out the role was vital, and the U.S. spent more than $8.5 billion to support and develop the Afghan Air Force and the Special Mission Wing.
However, the Afghan air force risks being largely grounded once the coalition leaves. The Afghans’ fleet of fighter jets is serviced by U.S. contractors, who are leaving along with the troops. Afghan officials say the coalition never gave them the training or infrastructure to carry out maintenance themselves.
Several Afghan officials who spoke to The Associated Press were deeply critical of the U.S. and NATO failure to invest in factories to make spare parts, manufacturing plants to produce ammunition and training to produce skilled Afghan mechanics.
Monitoring the Funds a Concern
Monitoring the funds provided to Afghan forces are a major concern for the US. America’s own government watchdog says oversight of the money has been poor, hundreds of millions of dollars have been misspent and corruption is rife in the security apparatus.
Monitoring where the future funding goes will become virtually impossible after Aug. 31, when the last coalition troops leave, say observers. More than 80% of the Afghan government budget is paid by the U.S. and its allies, according to SIGAR.
Reports suggest that the billions of dollars injected into Afghanistan during the past two decades has gone largely unmonitored, leading to corruption by both Afghans and foreign contractors.