Shaheen calls for oversight of Afghanistan reconstruction efforts

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) called for increased scrutiny and reforms to U.S. reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan.

“As the U.S. engagement with Afghanistan draws to a close, our oversight and reconstruction efforts are as consequential as ever,” Shaheen said Monday. “It is overwhelmingly clear that the U.S. needs to increase scrutiny and appropriately reform our reconstruction efforts.”

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Shaheen’s remarks came as the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) reported to Congress that there are oversight weaknesses in the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and that there is a backlog of referrals on contractors with links to terrorist groups.

“American taxpayers have been paying for this effort for more than a decade, and it is entirely unacceptable for the tremendous investments the American people have made to be wasted or for our dollars to flow into the hands of terrorist groups,” Shaheen said.

Shaheen said there are 43 pending referrals before the Army’s Suspension and Debarment Official that involve individuals or companies with ties to terrorist organizations including the Haqqani Network and al Qaeda. She said SIGAR’s latest report shows the Army has still failed to suspend or debar those contractors.

Shaheen serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee and is up for a tough reelection in 2014.