US watchdog raises worry about Afghan fuel program

WASHINGTON — The watchdog for US spending in Afghanistan says lax accountability in a $1.1 billion program supplying fuel to the Afghan National Army needs ‘‘immediate attention’’ before control of the program is turned over to the Kabul government in less than four months.

There’s no proof the fuel is actually being used by Afghan security forces for their missions, meaning it is not known how much fuel has been lost, stolen, or diverted to the insurgency, according to a report released Monday by the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, John F. Sopko.

The report is the latest bad news surrounding a key element of the US exit strategy for Afghanistan. Washington has spent billions on the international coalition’s effort to train and equip Afghan forces.


The new report comes on top of growing questions in recent weeks about how recruits are vetted for the Afghan forces — questions prompted by a spike in insider attacks in which Afghan soldiers, police, or impersonators have killed 45 international service members this year, mostly Americans.

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The report also found:

 An audit of the spending is being hampered because someone shredded financial records covering $475 million in fuel payments over more than four years and officials inexplicably could not provide complete records for a fifth year.

 There is insufficient justification for increasing budget requests for fuel that have been made by the command managing NATO’s mission to equip and train Afghan forces.

 Millions in the proposed funding should be cut until international forces figure out how many vehicles and generators the Afghan security forces are actually using and how much fuel is needed for those vehicles and for power plants.