Recap Of Chairman Lynch First Hearing On National Security

Apr 8, 2019 Issues: Committee on Oversight and Reform, National Security

Washington, D.C.- On April 3rd, 2019, Chairman Stephen F. Lynch held his first hearing for the Subcommittee on National Security on the United States Mission in Afghanistan, focusing on “The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction’s 2019 High-Risk List.

TAKEAWAYS

  • Special Inspector General Sopko testified that the Afghan government cannot sustain itself without substantial continued U.S. and donor support. 
  • The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) will require continued U.S. and allied support to counter the multiple violent extremist organizations active in Afghanistan.
  • Despite anti-corruption efforts by the Afghan government and donor countries, corruption remains a significant challenge in Afghanistan.  Of particular concern is fuel theft, a lucrative business in Afghanistan, with at least $154.4 million in fuel stolen from the U.S. military and the ANDSF.
  • Any future peace deal with the Taliban will create additional reconstruction challenges, including:
    • how approximately 60,000 Taliban fighters and their families might be reintegrated into Afghan society;
    • and, whether a peace agreement would enable the Taliban to oppress women and girls as they did under their former regime.
  • Special Inspector General Sopko testified that the Department of Defense might be overly classifying information related to the performance of the ANDSF because it could be embarrassing to the Afghan government.

BACKGROUND

  • On March 28, 2019, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) issued SIGAR’s “2019 High-Risk List.”
  • The report identifies eight high-risk program areas in the more than $132 billion U.S. effort to rebuild Afghanistan that are particularly vulnerable to waste, fraud, abuse, mismanagement, and mission-failure.  
  • The high-risk areas include widening insecurity in the country, the critical capability gaps in the Afghan security forces, threats to women’s rights, the potential reintegration of ex-Taliban combatants, and restrictions on independent oversight. 

WITNESS

The Honorable John F. Sopko

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction

VIDEOS

Watch Chairman Lynch’s opening statement.

Watch Chairman Lynch’s question line.