Afghanistan’s Donor Dependence
The United States has allocated over $72 billion to secure, stabilize, and rebuild Afghanistan since 2002, and the President requested over $18 billion for these purposes for fiscal year 2012. GAO has on numerous occasions raised doubts about the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s (GIRoA) ability to fund its public expenditures—funds spent to provide public services to the Afghan population, such as security, infrastructure projects, and government salaries. In 2005, we reported that Afghanistan had limited resources and recommended that the Secretaries of State and Defense develop plans for funding the Afghan national security forces (ANSF). In 2007 and 2008, we reported that it was essential to develop future funding requirements for the ANSF and a strategy for transitioning these responsibilities to GIRoA. In 2008, Congress also mandated that the Department of Defense provide a long-term plan for sustaining the ANSF, including future funding requirements. The Department of Defense, however, has yet to provide the Congress an estimate of the cost to sustain the Afghanistan National Security Forces. In 2011, we again recommended that the U.S. and international partners develop estimates of the future funding needed to grow the Afghan National Army. We have also raised concerns about Afghanistan’s inability to fund planned government expenditures without foreign assistance and raised questions about the sustainability of U.S.-funded efforts to build and enhance Afghanistan’s road, agriculture, and water infrastructures. During a related engagement, we reviewed U.S. efforts to strengthen Afghanistan’s public financial management, a critical capability for Afghanistan’s fiscal sustainability.