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Afghanistan’s stabilization efforts failed, US wasted billions – watchdog

The United States wasted billions of dollars trying to stabilize fragile parts of Afghanistan from 2001-2017, a US government watchdog said in a report published Thursday. The office of the Special Inspector for Afghanistan Reconstruction said that the US had set unrealistic expectations for itself after the invasion in 2001 and overestimated its ability to build and reform government institutions, AFP reported. “Despite some heroic efforts to stabilize insecure and contested areas in Afghanistan between 2002 and 2017, the program mostly failed,” Special Inspector General John Sopko said in Washington. “Opportunities for corruption and elite capture abounded, making many of those projects far more harmful than helpful,” according to the document. It added that successes in stabilizing Afghan districts rarely lasted longer than the physical presence of coalition troops and civilians.