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Oct. 4, 2019

Afghanistan Reconstruction: Lessons from the Long War

Considering that more than 2,200 Americans have died in Afghanistan, it would be a dereliction of duty not to extract lessons from nearly 18 years of engagement there. It not only makes sense but also is a statutory obligation for the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). Our legislative mandate requires us to provide recommendations to promote economy, efficiency, effectiveness, and leadership on preventing and detecting waste, fraud, and abuse. As an independent inspector general, my job is to evaluate the effectiveness of reconstruction activities in Afghanistan, not to make policy. Nonetheless, I have been asked many times whether the United States and its coalition partners will be in Afghanistan in another 18 years. Although I cannot answer that question directly, I know that we may well be if we fail to learn the lessons from the first 18 years of our nation’s experience in Afghanistan.