The price has been high

  • Since 2001, 2,247 U.S. military personnel have died and more than 20,000 have been wounded in Afghanistan.
  • Adjusted for inflation, the U.S. has spent more on Afghanistan’s reconstruction than it did on the Marshall Plan to rebuild Western Europe after World War II.
  • Reconstructing Afghanistan has been the largest expenditure to rebuild a single country in our nation’s history.
A stylized line graph with three increasing lines and one increasing line

Reconstruction Challenges Remain

A stylized construction crane

After 15 years the Task is Incomplete

  • Despite a $70 billion U.S. investment in the Afghan security forces, only 63% of the country’s districts are under Afghan government control or influence.
  • Corruption has the eroded legitimacy of the Afghan government, limiting its effectiveness and bolstering support for the opposing insurgency.
  • After 15 years, Afghanistan still cannot support itself financially or functionally. Long-term financial assistance is required if the country is to survive.
A stylized map of Afghanistan

Eight High-Risk Areas

In 2014, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) developed a High-Risk List to call attention to program areas and elements of the U.S.-funded reconstruction effort in Afghanistan that are especially vulnerable to significant waste, fraud, and abuse.

This High-Risk List has been updated to identify and address systemic problems facing U.S.-funded reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. The report highlights program areas where SIGAR believes implementing agencies need to focus. It also discusses how specific agencies are failing to mitigate risks in areas that involve their operations. The eight current high-risk areas are:


An ANDSF soldier holding a seized AK-47
U.S. Marine Corps photo/Cpl. Reece Lodder

Despite roughly $70 billion in U.S. investment, the ANDSF has not yet been capable of securing all of Afghanistan.


A hand holding both dollar and Afs
Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion Photo

Corruption has eroded the Afghan government's legitimacy.


Afghan workmen constructing a road
USAID photo

The Afghan government cannot sustain U.S. reconstruction projects and programs.

On-Budget Support

An arial photo of the Kajaki Dam in Helmand province
USAID photo

On-budget assistance reduces U.S. control and visibility over reconstruction funds.


An Afghan soldier walks through a poppy field
DoD photo/Staff Sgt. Kaily Brown, U.S. Army

Afghanistan still leads the world in opium production, despite $8.5 billion in U.S. counternarcotics investment.

Contract Management

Navy Seabees place prefabricated concrete pieces in the riverbed at the Musa Qal'eh in Helmand province
U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Russ Stewart

Managing high-value contracts in Afghanistan is made difficult by the country's remoteness, active insurgency, widespread corruption, limited ministerial capability, difficulties in collecting and verifying data, and other issues.


The North entrance to the Salang Tunnel on the border of Parwan and Baghlan Provinces
USAID Photo/S.K.Vemmer, Department of State

Accessing reconstruction project sites and programs in Afghanistan has grown increasingly difficult with the U.S. and Coalition military drawdown.

Planning and Strategy

U.S. Army soldier provides security at the Farah justice center building
DoD photo by Chief Hospital Corpsman Josh Ives, U.S. Navy

U.S. military and civilian agencies are at risk of duplicating efforts in Afghanistan due to a lack of coordination in planning.

SIGAR remains committed to the mission

  • SIGAR provides independent and objective oversight of our vast, cross-agency investment in Afghanistan, and has been at the forefront of investigating major schemes to defraud the U.S. government and destabilize Afghanistan’s reconstruction.
  • SIGAR maintains the largest presence of any U.S. oversight agency in Afghanistan and its staff have more experience in-country than that of any other organization.
  • In addition to protecting funds, SIGAR identifies and helps to address systemic problems facing U.S.-funded reconstruction efforts, both for Afghanistan and future contingency operations.
The Inspector General and SIGAR staff inspect the unfinished Kabul Grand Hotel
SIGAR Photo/Tom Niblock

With a new U.S. President and Cabinet assuming office, it is an appropriate time to consider U.S. policy toward Afghanistan. The choices are not easy, the outcomes are not guaranteed, and the stakes are high.

The SIGAR High-Risk List highlights eight critical areas in the huge and expensive effort to rebuild Afghanistan that deserve close attention from implementing agencies, the oversight community, and Congress.