Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction Corruption in Conflict – Lessons From the U.S. Experience in Afghanistan, September 2016 – “Corruption in Conflict—the first in a series of lessons learned reports by SIGAR—examines how the U.S. government understood the risks of corruption in Afghanistan, how the U.S. response to corruption evolved, and the effectiveness of that response. This report draws important lessons from the U.S. experience with corruption in Afghanistan since 2001. It is vital that these lessons inform and improve not only ongoing efforts in Afghanistan, but also future U.S. contingency operations. When U.S. military forces and civilians entered Afghanistan in 2001 in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, they were immediately faced with the difficult task of trying to stabilize a country devastated by decades of war and poverty. Against that background, the U.S. government did not place a high priority on the threat of corruption in the first years of the reconstruction effort. By 2009, however, many senior U.S. officials saw systemic corruption as a strategic threat to the mission.
- Corruption undermined the U.S. mission in Afghanistan by fueling grievances and channeling support to the insurgency.
- The U.S. contributed to the growth of corruption.
- The U.S. was slow to recognize the magnitude of the problem.
- U.S. security and political goals consistently trumped strong anticorruption actions.
- Anticorruption efforts lacked sustained political commitment and saw limited success.”