KABUL : Foreign donors have flooded Afghanistan with more money than it can absorb,  exacerbating corruption and fuelling the drawn-out conflict -

US independent auditor John Sopko has said in an interview with AFP.

The comments by the US government's special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction  [SIGAR] followed -

The recent stinging assessment of the World Bank's handling of the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund [ARTF].

SIGAR found there was little oversight of how and where more than $10 billion contributed by 34 donor nations and agencies since 2002 had been spent.

The World Bank was also unable to accurately evaluate the impact of the money.

Sopko said the mishandling of the ARTF highlighted broader problems with the many billions in foreign reconstruction spending in Afghanistan since 2001, adding the report was a-

''Wake up call'' for the international community.

''We exacerbated it {corruption} by pouring too much money, too fast, into too small a country and the key is too little oversight,'' Sopko told AFP in Kabul.

''We ignored corruption early on. We ignored the corrupt officials we were giving money to, the warlords, the petty bosses who then later grew extremely wealthy..''

Such corruption is helping to fuel the protracted conflict, now in its 17th year, by eroding support for the Afghan government and morale among its security forces ''who are fighting and dying,'' Sopko said. [AFP]


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