tv Special Inspector General Discusses Afghanistan CSPAN January 27, 2022 9:01am-10:39am EST
>> it will merely be a bumper sticker on the car over the canadian border, destiny unfulfilled. the power for the destiny is in our hands. together, we can make sure the next generation doesn't look south. we can make sure it's the future the next generation sees when they look north to the great state of alaska. those that are here tonight have a great obligation to come together with policies with longstanding issues to create opportunities for generations to come. the future is now. we can't dwell on yesterday. en quite frankly, we're running out of tomorrows. so, let's get to work and let's work together. i want to thank all of you
again for the opportunity to speak with you here tonight. may god bless all of you. >> we'll leave this program here, you can see it in its entirety if you go to c-span.org. we'll go to the afghanistan, john sopko hosted by the atlantic council, live coverage here on c-span2. >> well, he has basically called out a special place for himself in washington. all of afghanistan. he brings to this job 30 years of experience working on the hill, working in government and so, we look to him to give us some ideas for the future on how to protect the afghan
people. now, we know that some 146 billion dollars of u.s. money has been spent on the row construction effort. and tens of thousands of lives have been lost, including coalition forces, taliban insurgents, and countless of civilians, not to mention those who died in terrorism and military action inside pakistan. meanwhile, the u.s. will support those 850 billion dollars in the region of afghanistan only to depart in a hurried fashion after casting a safe departure deal with the taliban. and the west and coalition support, especially for the airport that gave them full advantage over the taliban. the result was the inevitable and sudden collapse of the afghan government and the entry
of the taliban into kabul. the aftermath has been chaotic and it reminds them of the vigil in which the character laments sadly that the only people who will find peace in afghanistan are the dead. shortages of food, and the ravages of winter have created an epic humanitarian crisis. the taliban re main under sanctions, so it is difficult for aid to go to afghanistan or to be distributed. john sopko is here today to warn us of the looming danger, but also to offer some guidelines with solutions to the current crisis. and joining us with discussions and questions, is a group of leading experts from the region, and others deeply, and i promise to introduce them again during the conversation. they include former foreign
minister of pakistan, from afghanistan, the doctor and christina lamb. our audience is invited to join the conversation by sending us comments and questions that my colleagues at the atlantic council will capture and share with me and we'll attempt to get as many into the conversation as we can. but first, let me hear from inspector general john sopko, over to you, john. >> thank you very much for that kind introduction and i also want to thank you and the atlantic council for inviting me to speak this morning and a bee traited congratulations to the atlantic council for celebrating your 60th anniversary, for over half a century, the council led critical discussions such as this and critical research on
some of the most important issues facing the united states and the world. one can point to many examples of this leadership, including the great body of work, that you conducted for over many years as the first director of the salvation center. and i think it's relevant to today's discussion that in your latest book, the battles of pakistan, you highlighted a prophetic report done by one of your colleagues that the then atlantic congresssional chairman, retired major general, james jones, who opened his report and you cited as saying, quote, make no mistake, the international community is not winning in afghanistan unless this reality is understood, and action is taken promptly, the future of afghanistan is bleak, unquote.
now, once again, we all know afghanistan faces a horrible humanitarian crisis, it is bleak in afghanistan. but just as general jones did in 2008, i'm here today as you alluded to, to issue a warning. in this case, the international community must apply the lessons that we all bitterly learned over the last 20 years, lest this urgent humanitarian aid which many people are discussing, the u.n. just announced a large aid program yesterday, but lest that aid for afghanistan is wasted again, or is stolen, or is diverted to the taliban. now, as you mentioned in 2009 my agency, the special inspector general for afghanistan reconstruction or commonly called sig, we've over
700 reports making recommendations to improve reconstruction efforts. all told, the auditors and efforts have saved the u.s. taxpayer over $4 billion. i think i can start by saying that like others before them, the taliban is learning the bitter lesson that winning is not the same as governing. since their takeover last august, the afghan economy has crater. according to the world food program by the end of november 98% of all afghans did not have enough to eat and this winter alone, over one million children are at risk of
starvation and death. and access to health care services, men minimum health care services has worsened. the international community has not ignored afghanistan's dire straits. aid, though significantly reduced, has continued to flow. the united states continues to be the single largest donor, $782 million in humanitarian aid for afghan and after gap refugees in the region. and as i mentioned just yesterday, the u.n. announced what they call a transitional engagement framework to spend up to $8 billion to support the afghan people. yet, while all of this aid flows neither the united states nor any other western donor at this time has a diplomatic or military presence on the ground in afghanistan. this lack of on the ground
oversight increases the risk that that foreign assistance will be diverted before it reaches the people who need it most. let me be blunt about this. we have seen this movie before. over the past 20 years the united states spent over 46 billion dollars on reconstruction in afghanistan. of the amount we reviewed, our conservative estimate is that at least 30% of that aid was wasted or stolen. so let's be aware, we've spent too much money too fast in too small a country with too little oversight. we should keep that in mind as we go forward in humanitarian assistance. the question you may ask, how was this possible? how could we have wasted so much money? now we have highlighted multiple reasons in our work,
particularly our 11 lessons learned report have indicated that really insufficient oversight has been the core problem, along with an inability to adapt to change conditions on the ground. the unvarnished truth is that we can send all the money in the world into afghanistan, but it will be a tragedy if that money winds up in the hands of the taliban regime or other bad actors other than the afghan people who need it the most. so i offered today both a warning, as well as a path forward, that includes some common sense best practices that can be taken to reduce the risk and improve the chance of success in afghanistan. and the only u.s. government agency legally tasked with whole of government oversight in afghanistan, knows well the
risks and challenges the united states and the other donors face. let me just say here as an independent inspector general, cannot take a position on whether we should provide more humanitarian aid or not. that's or matters for that. sigar's legislation allows us to make recommendations to motor economy, effectiveness in programs. we've developed the following 10 best practices based upon our extensive oversight experience in that country. including the nearly 1200 recommendations we've made over the last 13 years.
i believe if these are followed congress can look for ways for waste and diversion. first of all, establish a clear purpose for any of the humanitarian aid. insist that any organization receiving funding, including the u.n., world bank, asian development bank, irc, et cetera, are fully transparent so we, and the other donors know where our money went and how it was used. shirred, third, set a tolerable risk. there will be wastage, but there will be risk if that waste becomes too great.
and keep track of the money used and assess to see if activities are actually helping people on the ground. fifth, determine clear, relevant metrics that measure outcome, not just how much money was spent or how much was spent for a program. sixth, if an activity is going poorly, make course corrections and be prepared to pull the plug. seventh, third party monitors are necessary. but the u.s. government and the other donors have to be diligent in evaluating them and their standards. we have to monitor the monitors. eighth, adapt to the evolving situation on the ground in
afghanistan one size does not fit all situations. ninth, seek smart opportunities for smart conditionalities and i may add, don't overwhelm those in afghanistan with conditions. tenth, look for activities that the afghans can eventually sustain without or with limited outside support. so in conclusion, let me just reiterate. there's a new retalent in afghanistan and it may mean the flow of u.s. and western aid continues for the foreseeable future. if it does, effective oversight will be essential to ensure that such funding is not wasted and has a chance of a real and positive impact. sigar, of course, remains committed as it has for a
decade to protect u.s. taxpayer dollars from misuse and to promote better outcomes. but now, more than ever, u.s. and i would caution western allies, have the opportunity to put into practice what we should have learned over the last 20 years, and by doing so, adopt best practices for this new altered political, social and economic landscape. if there is one lesson we can take away from looking at what happened over the last 20 years, and one lesson i hope the audience takes away from today's discussion, is that we cannot continue to do things like we did in the past. if we decide to do that, we
will probably risk failure again. so, let me thank you again for speaking at the council and i look forward to the further discussion and answering any questions. thank you. >> thank you, john. and as you said, it requires a lot of common sense and that is the basis for your guidelines. but as you well know, common sense is really not that common. and so, let me ask you this, now that you've highlighted the impending humanitarian crisis, cynics will counter that, this is too little or too late. that the united states and its allies should have known and particularly because of your own organizations lessons, learning from the construction efforts in afghanistan, you have issued hundreds of reports on the wasted resources on the
construction effort as well as the war fighting and you've warned of the results of some of the actions and inactions, including the one about the air force that i referred to. now, the question is this, has washington and have the other western capitals learned anything? it seems that the overarching mood currently in washington is to punish the taliban for having outlasted the coalition. and to perhaps blame pakistan as an unfaithful ally. would that solve the problem? if not, how can we change the mindset and focus, as you say now, on the needs of the afghan people? what can be done to change that approach in washington? >> well, we are stepping into the policy issues that many of the other colleagues of today's panel can discuss in more
detail, but i think one thing we should keep in mind is, you know, there's enough blame to go around for everybody over the last 20 years and i think focusing on just blaming, saying he did this, she did that, whatever, i don't think that accomplishes anything. i think what's productive is finding out what didn't work, what did work, and then follow a better approach in the future rather than focusing and just blaming everyone. now, there is almost a universal outlook. we all know that, that the u.n. has restrictions on assisting the taliban or recognizing the entity. and so does the u.s. and most, so that's i think that's a reality that you have to accept. so, what we're proposing today, and we're going to be expanding upon this, not expanding on the 10 policies, but discussing it
more next week when we issue our quarterly report, we'll go into more detail, but this is to say, look it, here is what we learned, here is what you should apply before you start thinking about shoving $8 billion in humanitarian aid to afghanistan. it won't work unless we learn from the past. so we're saying, before you start sending the money again, hit the pause button, think, and try to design programs that work. and i must say, i'm very uncouraged usaid has approached us, the u.n. has approached us, a number of countries have approached us looking for advice and this is one of the reasons why i'm speaking today is to tell you here are 10 principles you should follow going forward. >> you referred to the united nations report that was issued yesterday and its title really
kind of gives it athe transitional engagement framework. i mean, i remember covering the u.n. as a young newsman in the '70s and the u.n. has not changed dramatically over the years. the report, if i could be blunt, is more aspirational than achievable. even the $8 billion that it talks about, the needs of the people in one year in 2022 is perhaps too much money going into a country which had too much money which led to corruption and diversion of funds. but it's worth looking at the problem that they're trying to solve and i have a question about that. let me first layout some of the numbers to illustrate the situation on the ground. you mentioned some of them yourself. the economy is in freefall in afghanistan.
the gdp is contracting by 40%. some 23 million people are facing acute food insecurity. over one million children are facing death from acute malnutrition. and 95 to 97% of the entire population of afghanistan is below the poverty line. further, 4.2 million children are currently out of school. 60% of these are girls. 8.8 million children are at risk of dropping out of school. indeed, the future as you put it, is grim. but the u.s. projects its need to tackle these problems in the order of-- or the u.n. says that it needs 8 billion to solve these problems and to address these
needs. but as you said, it doesn't recognize the defacto taliban regime and many individuals and entities of the regime remain under u.n. sanctions. so how realistic is it to expect aid to flow to afghanistan under these conditions? and what can be done to change that situation? >> that's a very good point, but i will say that we have faced similar situations and in the u.n., world bank and other countries have in other countries, where we have recognized a humanitarian crisis, but we also have a host government that we don't want to deal with for various reasons and there are a number of countries around the world, where we are currently doing something like this. so, it can be done, and in our
conversations with some officials in the u.n., the world bank and other countries, they've actually told us that. so, i think we can learn from how to do that. so you can operate. it's more difficult, but that's why you need people on the ground where you can. you need people to make certain the money isn't diverted. and you need somebody in charge. i mean, looking at all of our reports, you know, and what really went wrong. one of the problems we really doesn't have a strategy. and we didn't really have anybody in charge. we had multiple people in charge and i think that's one of the things, a number of u.n. officials, former u.n., former usaid officials told us you need somebody in charge who could make a decision and not have to wait six months to go up the channel to new york or washington d.c., and can say, we are not going to provide assistance in this province or
this district anymore because you, taliban, or you, whatever it is, the group is, are stealing all humanitarian aid and make that decision. they've told us it's going to work, i'm not saying it's going to be easy, but i think we can learn. the united states tends to think it has a monopoly on all things marked and worked, and i think that's a big mistake and i think we can learn from these and we can learn from entities who have been operating in afghanistan and doing it well for years. and i think you and i the last time we met talked about some of these organizations. the agahan operation has been operating in afghanistan for years. doctors without borders have been operating in afghanistan for years and able to provide humanitarian assistance without it being diverted. i think we need to talk to them. we are talking to them right now.
so, i think it's -- something, it's going to be difficult, but it can be done. >> can you name some of the other countries that you mentioned where we are dealing with entities that are not legally recognized as the official government? >> i knew you would ask that and my mind -- i think we're with the houthis if i'm not mistaken, that we will -- by we, i mean the u.n. and other entities are providing humanitarian assistance, but they don't want it to go through the central government. i apologize, i'm asking a mental breakdown right here, and there are a number of countries where we've done it in the past. >> and we'll come back to it, but you raise a very important point and i want to pick up on that, that the overarching characteristic of the u.s. and its allies, prosecution of the
war in afghanistan since the invasion was the lack of coordination, and the absence of a consistent and a very clear and cohesive vision. in my book that you mentioned, i spoke with leading military and political figures here as well as in europe and in the region and there was a consistent theme which you've now picked up on. general jones says when he took over as supreme commander for nato, the first thing discovered was all these countries that sent forces into afghanistan were doing their own thing. when the general doug lute, the traditional head of foreign policy at the white house under the bush administration was asked to stay on by president obama, he prepared a presentation that he called end wars, to the deck that he
called -- and general mcchrystal, many years later, used the same term in describing the chaos and confusion in the way we were operating in afghanistan. so, as you well know, even the war effort was marked by this lack of consistency and changing commanders in the field every 13 months. so how can we expect the united states and its allies to alter this behavior when it comes to mounting a humanitarian effort? how can they take the lead? >> well, i think the first step is to recognize that there was a problem and to, in the case of a strategy, that what we say, come up with goals and your strategy, i believe it's the first principle we come up with. and then designate somebody or some entity as being in charge.
that can be done, particularly, i think, when you're dealing in afghanistan now with the humanitarian system i don't think many western countries will be operating independently in afghanistan. so i can't make a recommendation, but obviously, the u.n. has been operating there for a long time. the world bank will be operating there. there are certain international organizations and that may, if you give them the authority to do it, but if you do, you can't all of a sudden absolve yourself-- and i don't think our congress is going to all of a sudden say, okay, we're just going to give the money and we're not going to pay attention to how its spent. that's one mistake we learned in afghanistan. and we've issued a number of audits looking at the u.n. critical how they did oversight. and actually, the u.n., there's correspondence between me and the former head of the unvp
where she said i have no responsibility to protect the money in essence, she said. which explains why the u.n. was running the trust fund that was paying for soldiers that never existed right up until the end of the afghan government. likewise, we've been critical how the world bank has operated and run the afghan reconstruction trust fund. we've issued a number of reports and we are going to be issuing one actually next month which covered the world bank's operation of the artf up to the collapse of the afghan government and it's critical. it basically says we audited you before, we made all of your recommendations and although you've fixed some of the problems, you haven't fixed a lot of them and including having effective oversight and including telling the donors how you're spending the money.
so it can be done, it really -- it has to be again, let's learn what works and what didn't and let's do it anew with those thoughts in it. and i think we can succeed. that's all i'm saying. it's going to be hard, but i think we can succeed. >> picking up on what you said earlier, there are organizations you named have been operating and continuing to operate in afghanistan, even today, despite the fact that there's danger to the staff and particularly difficulty moving money in and out of the country. maybe you could talk a little bit about your knowledge of the norwegian experience because that, you know, in your mind is also another model and to what extent has the 782 million that
the u.s. has spent on humanitarian aid now, to what extent is that reaching the right people? is any of it being diverted to your knowledge? >> well, i -- let me answer that question first because we have not looked at the current humanitarian assistance because it's so new. and, you know, so we haven't had a chance to look at that and see how it's signed and spent so i can't answer that question. the norwegians, along with another-- a number of other countries, what is commonly referred to as the nordics have done an excellent job on doing oversight on the 20 years in afghanistan. they-- the norwegians, i believe, are still--
they have a monitoring program because they still are funding the mining operations in afghanistan. and as far as we know, and in our latest audit of the mining program, it's very positive of how the norwegians did it and rather than me tell you how they do monitoring, i would highly recommend you reach out to those countries. we are not the center of all knowledge and all good and we should be a little humble about this. and i think the norwegians, did an excellent job. we can learn a lesson from the german, they did an excellent job of some assistance programs over the last 20 years. and you know, the japanese did an excellent job and there are some questions we don't view as magic players, but they did an excellent job of doing work in afghanistan and likewise, again, i go back to the
foundation, and i think both you and i remembered the head of their washington office narali, who when i first started 10 years ago took me aside and basically explained how they worked and introduced me to his colleagues in afghanistan and they did an excellent job. their money was not wasted. and interests without borders is an organization we can learn from. they have been operating since the original taliban takeover. and as far as we know, and again, we don't audit them because they don't accept any u.s. money. they don't accept money from anybody, any government, i should say. but their board and their people have been very positive of how they have operated without major loss. there is some loss of funds, but not a major problem. so we can learn from all of
these. >> i take your note of your word modesty and humility a couple of times. as my friend steve once said to me when we were discussing my book at the atlantic council, he said these are two words that are not frequently used in washington so i'm glad that you are using them. one issue that needs some focus is the role of the poor neighbors of afghanistan, and efforts are going to be important, that the u.s. and western allies should pursue, and in that connection, i can think of no one better than-- of pakistan to join this exchange. to talk perhaps first about how
he sees pakistan's role and the allegation that pakistan has been playing a double game with its partners from the coalition, and also, its potential role as a regional partner with other countries whether it's iran, russia, china, india, or countries from the arabian peninsula, to do something in afghanistan so it's not the u.s. alone. so, i'm going to ask them to join the conversation at this point. i think you need to unmute yourself. thank you.
>> can you hear me now? >> yes, we can, thank you. >> okay. sorry for wasting your time. i'm not very good at these things. my grandchildren make fun of me, but anyway, i think all of our grandchildren make fun of us. but coming to pakistan, that you use that word, i'm not going to skip that, we've been that neighborhood for 40 years. we have a medium sized country and a developing country. the soviet union and then the united states. and we have as our neighbor india, with india, i think we've had four wars, and in 1998, and i know the international community is aware of human rights violations there. but they have a much greater
impact here, but i'm not going to touch on that. what i am going to say is the neighborhood, and we have made mistakes, who has not? when you have for 40 years have war on your border, you are being forced into situations. even with the united states with 9/11, i think my predecessor, because i took over later, the foreign minister then, has mentioned the circumstances under which pakistan was operating joined the united states. with that, bound to make mistakes, but i'm grateful to mr. john sopko, i actually read his-- some of his remarks made recently and i'm going to quote
from them. this was a speech he made to military reporters and particularly the association in arlington, virginia, on 20th october, 2021. and says those of you who follow sigar's work know that the afghanistan government, are problems reported on for years, corruption, ghost soldiers, dependence of the military on the u.s. air force, contractors and other enablers, and-- to name, but a few and went on to say, but we all know that the u.s. agencies are not made -- now, it was sigar, it was pakistan and those reports to see light of the day, probably pakistan would come in for
less, so yes, we have been blamed for double game in different situation, and that we hosted 3.5 million refugees, the largest at the time in the world. you asked recently what pakistan has done, organized extraordinary meeting of the foreign ministers and besides islamic countries, united states, european union, united nations, russia, china, were all invited, and secretary of state mason complimented pakistan for holding this conference. we have been providing aid, we are a poor country, but we've done as much as we could, and even though we have not had the best of relations with india, we have offered to help them transport-- and i know there are problems, but i hope that this speech will get through, but pakistan
is doing the best that it can. and apart from the organizations-- we have organized, for this conference and we also asked opec countries. now, i'm very happy the timing of your seminar today is just two or three days after the oslo conference in which many european, united states and many european countries, including france, britain, germany, the european union, and i'm even happier that members of the society were invited and -- chosen who were not members much government, but they were there, and relatively good resolution at the end of it. so, efforts will continue and this is a very positive development, the holding of the
oslo conference because people, regardless of what the taliban shortcomings, and there are many, one reason was the taliban was not very happy with pakistan is that they continue to tell them that they need to improve their human rights record, particularly on women seeking jobs and education, as well as making the government more inclusive. but-- improve the situation, and i would thank you for affording this opportunity for this information and also the council, it was a very learning experience today, learning pr mr. sopko, aware of many things which take place in our region and i have made references to his speech. nevertheless, his wise remarks
based on his experience, i think definitely need to be taken into consideration, further aid sent to afghanistan. >> we appreciate your intervention, mr. kasuri. john, if you could hold off on your reactions, i wanted to bring in a colleague of ours, the ambassador who is fellow of the atlantic council. before he became the afghan afghanistan to the uae and now after having resigned from that position. he was in the uae and involved in the final negotiations and discussions between president biden and president ashraf ghani. and he knows in the end-game of the previous regime.
let me ask him, first of all, respond to the comments that mr. kasuri made, but also to give us a sense what was going on in the government in those final days with reference to what ambassador sopko has said. >> sure. i appreciate it and it was good to hear the inspector sopko, also, and mr. kasuri. as john mentioned, plenty of blame to be thrown around. i mean, the regional blame game and it like an onion. it has so many layers and you know, i think peeling it off would only put you in tears. without getting into, you know, into details, no way of blame game or anything, but just an i
think it's fair to say that at the end of the day, the taliban were fundamentally undeterrable. or at least this was the belief under which they operated. and i think they were a societal enemy. i mean, their goals were fixed which was to take over the country and fundamentally remold it and i think for that goal, they made it very, very clear that they were willing to pay any cost to achieve it. so, i think for too long, we saw it, but we also increasingly saw from the inside, you know, maybe peed that bit of a foresight, you could call it the writing on the wall or, you know, the writing on the back of the wall. but we saw it, that how one side was moving more and more slowly. the challenge was the taliban
operateed with a certain conviction that any resistance against them, foreign or domestic, was essentially pointless and that unfortunately, in recent years, because the taliban were considered an expensive enemy, some countries in the region, as also the western capital, thought that the taliban could prove to be a much cheaper partner than the professor government in that enterprise that the united states supported. but i think now, like with the taliban's turn, we're seeing buyers remorse because the way the taliban is ruling, with the than first approach, it's quite unmanageable and no surprise the government based on their own terms and absolute terms, they want the world to deal with them based on those terms and now, if you ask me, the taliban, absolutely not, altogether ignored enabling external factors that
facilitated the taliban's behavior, absolutely, yes. and i think in this state, pakistan was or us accepting that as one of the gross misjudgments was, you know, in allowing them to do whatever they were doing as usual was something that really was important factor. the government was-- i was serving under, it was absolutely, but it was an important pakistan element to this one. i think that needs to be unpacked and i think this is also something that the united states needs to pay a lot more attention to going forward. one thing i do want to mention, i think this was mentioned in your remarks as well is that i would argue that in truth, america, the united states never really had a winning chance in afghanistan because of the pakistan problem, again
it's not a blame game. pakistan always provided this predictability in their partnership with the taliban. i think this contrast the afghan government arguably, again, you could make that editorial comment as well or mr. kasuri could, and they didn't have the predictability. the afghan government was a powder keg of problems, but this western approach we saw, the push in afghanistan, days before leaving and didn't really help and i think the pakistan's competitive advantage was that predictable nature of the symbiotic partnership with the taliban. with the taliban it was always a partnership and it worked perfectly and now there's buyers remorse and from what i'm seeing right now is that
they are less concerned about cross-border terrorism from afghanistan, but more concerned about an unmanageable taliban. >> thank you, javid. i think that some would argue perhaps the past relationship is unravelling between the taliban and pakistan. john sopko and you both, perhaps, could also address the question that's come from the audience, which is the accusation that the president took a whole bunch of cash with him, or his people took a bunch of cash with him, has there been an investigation from sigar, are you aware of that,
javid first and then mr. sopko. >> i believe that inspector sopko was looking into this, but i'm personally not aware. i think this is a question for john and of course, for president ghani him self to answer. >> john? >> certainly. thank you for that question. we are looking at a number of allegations and fact that we're looking at allegations and some of these we've been asked by congress to look into and some were quite obvious from press reporting. and when we look at the allegation, doesn't mean they're true or not. all i can say at this point is that we're looking into that. we've been asked by congress to look at a number of issues which we are currently looking at, including why did the government of afghan fall so
quickly, why did the military collapse so quickly. what happened to all the weapons. what happened to all the money we were sending right up until the end. money, fuel, things like that. as well as what happened to all the of the afghan judges, police, journalists, and, you know, people at afghanistan who believed in us, and believed in democracy, what's happened to them and what's the situation. so we'll be reporting on all of those issues hopefully at least preliminarily in march or april, earlier this year, to congress, we'll be reporting to and then to the american people, it will take a little bit longer. we have multiple teams out rit now we're interviewing and let me just-- can i say just one thing, again, we're humble enough, we
don't have all the answers and we get a lot of information from people contacting us. so if anybody listening now or looking at this over youtube or whatever has information, please don't hesitate to send it to us, www.sigar.mil, and many who follow press accounts, we give anonymity if asked for and we protect our sources and even got into a number of lawsuits with "the washington post" and we won, where they wanted us to reveal the names of people who asked for anonymity in our lessons learned reports, and we've fought them and won and we will do that. so we're looking forward to hearing from people whether in afghanistan or around the world and we have teams out right now interviewing people around the world to try to answer these
questions. i can't answer it, this is a long answer, but i can't say what, if anything, we're finding about these allegations about president ghani, but we're looking at more people than president ghani about taking money out of the country at the end. . >> let me pick up on something that javid mentioned and the role of pakistan, ostensibly a partner of the united states and coalition partners in afghanistan, but perhaps the more accurate description would be sometime partner because it was an on again/off again kind of relationship as they tried to hedge their bets to retain ties to the predominantly insurgents who occupied large swath of territory of a shared boundary with afghanistan. and looking at the whole situation very deeply, and she
heads a think tank at university, and she's also a member of the atlantic council family as a member-- as a nonresident senior fellow, i'm i'm going to ask her to pitch in at this point. is pakistan ready to play a positive role or is it largely on the back foot now vis-a-vis the u.s., that's forcing it to choose between america and china, among other things? >> thank you so much for the invitation to be here and it's been really an enlightening discussion. i have a couple of questions for mr. sopko, but to start off answering your question. i think pakistan, you know, is with respect to how its relationship is unravelling, as you put it with the taliban at
this stage and also for the rest of the world to see, probably, who thought the taliban were pakistan puppets and it was the government and now you can openly see the kind of challenges pakistan has had of since taliban have come, you know, to power in kabul. they've had issues over the international border, no guarantees given by the taliban. they've had issues with defense. and they've had issues with taliban going to india seeking humanitarian assistance and above all, we've had no commitment on ppp encounter on terrorism emanating from afghanistan to pakistan. these are huge things that pakistan is dealing with currently with respect to the taliban regime. i don't think that pakistan is in a position or is being forced from the u.s. to pick a side.
you know, the development and foreign office has been very good about it in stating that, you know, they don't want to play block politics, this is not cold war politics, this is not the new cold war, even. and pakistan knows, you know, which -- what is in its national interest and it needs to be care about it and i don't think that pakistan at this stage or even at a later stage is going to pick any sides. i have a couple of questions if you allow me to, mr. sopko. what has the u.s. experience with corruption been in afghanistan? you know, monitoring a multi-donor operation with $8 million is a challenging task and earlier there was poor oversight in contracting practices and the pressure was to spend the money. and with the $8 billion is
there and spend the money quickly. in the 10 points you've mentioned, you've talked about money, but where are the people there? what if the people go into this much money from their decision and there's the hostage situation. what if the taliban with the moan-- what's going to happen then? is there any strategy for that? and have you been thinking about that? there's also this, you know, concern that the agencies going in, they really be a sort of development which will have $8 billion to spend in the name of humanitarian assistance without recognizing or legitimizing the current taliban regime. what are some of the support systems on ground that they are going to be outsources or contracting with? what is the system on ground, you know, the roles and pakistan would like to know that. and lastly, i would like to know as to what does
humanitarian assistance include? does it only mean providing food to keeping and keeping them warm for the winter duration? what about their drugs, don't they need dignity and hope as much as any bread? who is is going to provide them those. when $8 billion are finished, what's next. >> these are the questions that all of us are thinking. i think there absolutely needs to be strategy. there needs to be, you know, all hands on deck approach, but the problem is not a small one to teal with. so your answers would be appreciated, thank you. >> thank you, and i should clarify that referring to the u.n.'s aspirational goal of $8 billion, not the u.s.'s goals. >> yeah, i think this is the report that just came out, obviously, nobody could see it, but it just came out yesterday from the u.n., the
transitionalen gaugement framework and i hole recommend reading it. let me address the questions, great questions, and i asked the same questions, my office does. and i think the u.s. congress has the same questions. $8 billion is a lot of money. what are you going to do with a $8 billion. they don't say in great detail. what happens when that money goes to afghanistan? how is it-- what's the system in place? i did 10 principles of what that system should look like, but no one's articulated it and we don't know what's going on. just so you know, that's a u.n. strategy. i have, you know, talked, but that's not something we wrote. so i think-- >> we'll leave this live discussion here for a couple of moments to keep our over 40-year commitment to live gavel to gavel coverage of
concern based on afghanistan, there was a pregnancy in both aided and state and the treasury to some extent to basically wash their hands of the affair once they gave the money to the un or walled break. we saw minimal, minimal oversight by our government agencies and we pointed that out. we also saw serious problem with
oversight provided by the un and the world bank. that's the warning i'm sending out. if we continue with this, money humanitarian aid we don't require the world bank to do a good job or asian development bank or whomever is hard to handle it, we're going to waste the money. what is humanitarian aid? i view it as we got a crisis people starving and freezing to death and they can't eat, they can't go to a hospital, these services have to be provided. does this include getting salaries to the doctors or nurses or people in afghanistan to carry out this function? i assume it does, by nature it does.
will there be diversion for the taliban? if the taliban is smart, they want their hands on the money for probably 20 that's why we say donors have to come up with what's of acceptable amount of leakage to the telegram. what you are talking about is starting development aid and un document hints at that but i'm not saying we should or should not, right now we've got a crisis of afghan starving to death and dying of diseases right now. that to me is humanitarian aid and of the u.s. government, they want to help the afghans, we are say here are the things you need to keep in mind to help them doesn't get diverted to bandits
here in the u.s. that's another problem we had a diversion barefoot diverted to the telegram because nobody wants the money to go to the taliban that i see publicly. >> i'm glad you are getting that out corruption is not. the taliban government itself be credited to be cohesive. i think that's what you are referring to doubling down to the problems. the local actors take over and they are all on the same page so it would be very tough to implement these measures as he said, preparing for some
leakage. another day. one issue that keeps coming up and i think it's time we discussed it in some detail is the question of helping of women and girls in their education and their reputation. some would say well-deserved reputation. secondary schools under this act they are trying to prepare boys and girls. it is vacant a well-known activists for the organization
and even now after having the taliban after having escaped from a she's in the united states, she's continuing efforts to educate girls inside. could you tell us what practically can be done for the girls of afghanistan? >> thank you, please excuse me. yes, that happens a lot. we have to start looking at the fact that right now it goes from class seven to class 12 stop her from going to school. none want we get many of them,
we could say a lot of things about their education but there's much more to comments on that. when it comes to practical solutions we have to understand the taliban, this is not the first time and it won't be the last time. they know it's a sensitive subject and has worked in the past. now coming to practical solutions, there are two ways to go. go with mass education through telecommunications been done and we are doing it. you don't want to go to the public what needs to be done apart from that on a practical solution because that's what's
-- [inaudible] mass education is important right now. thinking about is being discouraged because that's how they look at it. second, what is the future for girls? that is also important. it's very important they are able to earn money because. [inaudible] education is important. it makes you responsible and has a weight in their society. just because she's a girl. there should be providing job opportunity for the women in the girls of afghanistan. apart from mass education, this
needs to be taken. the first one is a solution for fact that we are working on this right now with satellite is largely satellite in afghanistan, filling in the digital cap and making sure it's the 34 promises and educations anywhere. it's the most important thing that has helped worked. it is helping. those of a practical solutions we need to talk about. apart from that, it's for girls to learn and they to talk to me and told me about the internet problems are a solution they are working on right now. then is electricity problems.
365 days most still have a lot. we can use generators for a solution because of the electricity. once internet is solved all you need to do is click on it and you land on a learning page and you learn your own languages in the study and other practical solutions. if you don't have internet, even if you don't have a telephone, something used in our home, everyone has it. my grandmother had it so it something we are working on, like teaching.
they can take it back from the taliban and education but we are opening ways for education. when we look at our education policy and in the past but i got a lot of feed, for teachers and students even but they weren't going to pull. i can't deny the fact that we are looking at that because about funding. for the fact that rose education is being politicized right now
and they've made it possible for the taliban to be in power, other than the people who need to talk, they are not given a place to talk. the fact that yes, we can see all we want but the way they are being treated by pakistan, the terrorists have this problem like this today. we have to look at the way they are treated boat those of the two different things you have to understand. you have to see who is participating in what the future
holds. [inaudible] >> thank you and i you raise important points, the taliban approach to education and how it could be exported to pakistan is that i appreciate your digestions, maybe i can add one with your permission and that is the internet connection. instead of building 98%, they could provide services these efforts of afghanistan so the internet is available seven has been in the past. that is just my suggestion.
with your permission, my friend from christina lam has been patient, i really appreciate it. you've been patiently waiting but also because you're the only person there from afghanistan, you are a reporter. i'm not sure there are too many of you. you have definite decades of experience. your book on problem was a fantastic tropopause and source of knowledge of the war. your more recent book which i only heard about when i was in touch with you and is now
required press the globe so you've been doing incredibly important work in collaborating with them in this book is heart wrenching and it must be. i am thankful for your book. you think the solutions that spend suggested in others offering in afghanistan, today. >> to that from a very nice introduction i wish we were talking about something more cheerful because it is quite heartbreaking being here. just after the taliban took over, i came back to the beginning of this week, maybe it's useful to talk about what i've been seeing on the ground.
talked about the desperate situation to go to someone's house in kabul and see people living there and they are getting eight pieces of bread a day, that's all they are giving us all they have. it was minus 16 here this morning. the only fire they have is getting a few bits of rubbish so this family i was with yesterday in kabul, one of the families there, i'm sure people have heard about this but sold their 8-year-old daughter because they have no other alternative. yesterday morning just before i arrived they actually owe money as well because the treatment
and they had to borrow money. people they owed money to came to their place asking for the money back, there's no way, they don't have anything so he offered them his three -month-old daughter. it's absolutely heartbreaking to see. it's not just the poorest, there's also middle-class now because so many people have lost their jobs. all their daughters had been educated, they worked as prosecutors, teachers, pharmacists and all kinds of different jobs. they all lost their jobs since the telegram has taken over so this family that's been comfortably or suddenly
overnight has no income coming in so they set up lunch time and in the evening they would have the rest of the cauliflower. outside kabul two hours away, there was some discussion how they would be administered so this is the money that's come in on the program, their pictures of them flying into kabul airport. every family designated as vulnerable by an afghan partner organization to the program for coming with a card, given 4000 afghans, less than $40 a month to live on. those people were in rural
areas, it's been completely failed, there was no wheat or corn because of the draft. it's a perfect storm, he got freezing temperatures from there's drought, the worst drought they remember. people have lost their jobs and economic crisis, the crisis has brought up a lot. i told you they were given 4000 afghans from a flower is now 2500. that's more than half your month eight just on flower. it's really desperate, some of the people said they've been eating grass the last few weeks because there's nothing else. in one of the people i spoke to in this might be interesting for different view of how this happened, how the taliban took over so quickly, there is a big
army base where there was soldiers and one was working on strategy and he said to me of course people didn't fight because we all knew they were taking money we were supposed to get. we weren't getting equipment, we just had no sense anyone cared about us. how do you expect people to fight when the taliban came? about was very telling. >> could you say a word about treatment? it's in history whenever there are problems and suffering. >> last time i was here i talked to people there because i'm sure
everybody knows that area. it is very badly last time of the taliban there were massacres, when i took over, one of the leaders, that didn't go very well. there were lots of people and hiding and fearing. i haven't really gone back there this time. that time was only a few weeks after the taliban had taken over so i don't really know the situation. i can tell you, it's interesting talking about women, yesterday i went to a group of women in hiding among the brave women coming out protesting every week
and they were the group pepper sprayed last week. two of them were affected, these four girls, the taliban had come to their house and they managed to escape and went out in hiding, absolutely terrified. we were in an apartment interest dark because there is no electricity. suddenly there was a banging on the door and i've never seen people freeze so much so terrified. they were so cared they were saying to me, they were angry and said those women who spoke their did not represent us, all the women activists you talked about have all fled the country,
the people stuck in the country. nobody spoke to us in their feeling is they were automatically even if they don't take any of it, they look better because people would be happier if they are getting food. the economy does better but how could you not give aid when i described at the beginning there was a desperate situation people are in? >> thank you, that is heart wrenching. let me go back to john and asked him if he things under these conditions it still possible given the low level, particularly women continues. the other question various
members have asked, how well are you coordinating with the inspectors general and other organizations inside the u.s. government? when u.s. aid goes directly into afghanistan, how effective were your supervision and review be? >> let me ask your first question first because i think that is important. we think follow common sense principles and look to countries who have organization who have successfully done this type of work in countries mentioned,
yemen, sudan, somalia, i think it can be done. if there's going to be spillage or waste, of course. when we had cooperative government the last 20 years, we still had over 30% of the money wasted but it can be done so you have to accept the policy decision for the also have to except the promise that i think christina noted, people are starving to death, eating grass. there may be humanitarian need to send the money right now. how do we coordinate it? coordinate on a daily basis with state id although i think the
program new how it would work. we are the largest oversight and investigative body u.s. in afghanistan and we still have the expertise but we will see how that coordinated. one other thing, keep in mind we should talk to, and i think the one made by a speaker, we need to talk to people who understand what's going on in the ground. i think it was eluded to we had a witness program called promote. it was designed by westerners, we didn't really talk to afghans about the program, it was a failure. i know our colleagues, she helped us when we did our review of the program in afghanistan.
the un or aid or estate or whomever is working there, talk to the people on the ground and the people who have recently been on the ground. the design programs, he could not do that again, we run the risk and. >> want to add a few words on this because she's the one who talked about it and she's the one doing the best to continue educating girls. >> thank you. you have to talk to people on the ground. there are others we could make but i don't want to take up your time.
majority have been. we are in a different country, we are not u.s. this event on my body the way i dress. mommy women have family but a different empowerment, the u.s. or anyone has to understand that. when you are designing products they have designed in the past, it didn't work because they were involved in this situation where they were going to the elite. that's outside and they are there. instead of sending women in the country and back to them, it's
because we can't, we don't send them to those countries. this human capacity, most important they speak english, i know i can speak english but i could speak that, to. [laughter] talking to people, i have to see it and it comes off strong but this is how they have this interest in by have to leave. i don't have anything from fat. the second most important thing is afghanistan is not a project. it needs to be treated, they need to be treated like human.
one things are not happy about, the un or whoever, let us have this account. make them accountable, the least the u.s. could do is make 30 to 40 people in afghanistan would have to speak english. they actually have solutions, how to focus on healthcare and education, how to focus on clean water and that is a big problem right now. you need people who are sustainable focused and most important, who are not invested in a political solution for an eight program. i should be men and women.
sometimes i even keep that because that but it works nicely when it comes to solutions. we need a task force invested in reality. there are solutions that work. okay, healthcare -- the taliban can never speak to the villages, we need to send humanitarian aid every two months. what happened, where is the money? work with them on that. okay, the taliban and the public for women. [inaudible] they can educate themselves there. these are not long-term solutions but they are
definitely things that can be put in place now. these big organizations, the head of the program right now received $5000, given packages of 5000 for flour and for quality of life. you have to understand a person who wants to have $5000 is a person who's getting one every four or five months. >> thank you. i really appreciate that. as i wrap up on our 90 minutes, i hope you agree you now have your next project for the people of afghanistan. thank you, i will go back to the
panel. i think this was the fastest 90 minutes on record given the quality and base of the discussion and i'm very grateful to the audience for their questions and for raising the consciousness of this important issue of how we can help afghanistan how high the opportunity cost is in helping the people of afghanistan. thank you all for joining us, thank you inspector general for your time and to the panel for their time. i'll see you soon. >> remarks from education secretary mikell are down on his department's priorities.
[inaudible conversations] author including author revolution, how the convergence of new technologies will unleash the next boom and roaring 2020. welcome to "washington journal". >> thanks for having me on. >> tell us about your work for the manhattan institute do and what is your role very? >> that's a good question i may be the wrong internet. the right things, here on both sides of the philosophical i'll surprise and produce and others, places or scholarship in public policy rather than scholarship
teach in the public space so to speak. i research, write and think about and talk about technology and energy policy, i worked in both and still do so i'm very much focused not only on innovation but energy and intersection of the two which is not something a lot of people spend time on. how you power robot computers. >> your work there causing you to reflect in this book compare this period of time where entry in 2020, you see the potential for revolution and economic boom similar to the boom of the 1920s. >> is a clever, obvious roaring 20s --