DoD Doesn’t Know if Afghan Drone Program Was Worth $174 Million In US Taxpayers’ Money, Report Says (excerpt)
(Source: Stars And Stripes; published July 17, 2020)
By Phillip Walter Wellman
KABUL, Afghanistan --- The U.S. military does not know what it got from a five-year effort to train and equip Afghan forces with surveillance drones to help target Taliban fighters in combat, a watchdog agency has found.

The Defense Department spent at least $174 million between 2015 and 2019 to outfit the country’s security forces with fixed-wing ScanEagle remotely piloted aircraft that provide real-time video, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan said in a new report.

But major oversight failures leave DOD unable to judge the immediate and longer-term impacts of the investment, how well the program has performed or whether the Afghan security forces can sustain it, the report found.

Published Monday, the report also raised concerns about missing equipment and Afghan troops’ inability to independently analyze intelligence. The coalition was reluctant to provide intelligence training partly because some trainees might have ties to the insurgents, an unnamed U.S. military official told SIGAR last year, saying he feared that “the training is going straight to the Taliban.” (end of excerpt)


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