20 years of getting Afghanistan all wrong
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction released (by coincidence) a new "Lessons Learned" report on Tuesday. My heart sank when I read the seven takeaways in "What We Need to Learn: Lessons from Twenty Years of Afghanistan Reconstruction." (The 11th in a series)
Why it matters: It's like we never knew or learned anything.
- "The U.S. government continuously struggled to develop and implement a coherent strategy for what it hoped to achieve."
- "The U.S. government consistently underestimated the amount of time required to rebuild Afghanistan, and created unrealistic timelines and expectations that prioritized spending quickly."
- "Many of the institutions and infrastructure projects the United States built were not sustainable."
- "Counterproductive civilian and military personnel policies and practices thwarted the effort."
- "Persistent insecurity severely undermined reconstruction efforts."
- "The U.S. government did not understand the Afghan context and therefore failed to tailor its efforts accordingly."
- "U.S. government agencies rarely conducted sufficient monitoring and evaluation to understand the impact of their efforts."