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WASHINGTON - Waste and fraud in U.S. efforts to rebuild Afghanistan while fighting al Qaeda and the Taliban may have cost taxpayers billions of dollars, a special investigator said on Monday.
Arnold Fields, special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, said the cost of U.S. assistance funding diverted or squandered since 2002 could reach "well into the millions, if not billions, of dollars."
U.S. and NATO partners hope Afghan forces will be able to take control by the end of 2014 as the West looks to curtail its involvement after nine years that at the present level of effort costs U.S. taxpayers at least $113 billion a year.