To the Editor:
On the front page of the Aug. 5 Killeen Daily Herald there is a headline that reads, “U.S. plans to monitor Afghanistan relief projects remotely.” It is written by Shashank Bengali of the Tribune Washington Bureau. This article claims that we have already spent $15 billion in Afghanistan since 2001 and that we plan to spend billions more on energy, agriculture, health, training, and other programs carried out by Afghan and American contractors. Remember, we are to withdraw most of our military from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which has a poor track record for oversight, now plans to monitor these 80 major relief projects using technology (smart phones, GPS enabled cameras, and satellite imagery) from remote sites located in major cities in Afghanistan. USAID officials will no longer inspect these projects on foot or first hand. They will rely on technology and Afghan contractor input and assessment. Mr. Bengali confirms than many experts and watchdog groups think this new plan using technology to monitor relief projects is a “risky strategy.”
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