BY FERN ROBINSON – A U.S. government report says major reconstruction projects in Afghanistan that were originally pitched as a vital tool in the campaign against the Taliban are so far behind schedule that they will not yield any benefits until most U.S. combat forces have left the country.
The Washington Post and The New York Times published stories on the report early Monday ahead of its official release planned for later in the day.
The newspapers say the report states the U.S. military and the U.S. Agency for International Development believe four electricity projects, costing more than $300 million dollars, will have counterinsurgency benefits, yet the projects have still not been awarded to contractors.
The U.S. Congress has poured $800 million into the Afghan reconstruction fund, while the State Department has committed about $1 billion.
In a written response to the report, the U.S. embassy in Kabul said it was “speculative,” and the top Defense Department official responsible for Afghanistan called the report “premature.”
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.