NATO pledges of massive amounts of cash aid to the Afghan government require a rethink, according to Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko, who warns that the Afghan government has no capacity to manage such funds.

Corruption in Afghanistan is at almost cartoonishly absurd levels, with roughly half the nation on the hook for at least one bribe in any given year and the bribes totally about double the Afghan government’s legitimate revenue.

Doling out billions upon billions of dollars in cash in this environment is a recipe for large amounts of the money to go missing, and with a pretty poor track record of results for the nearly $100 billion already spent, the prospect of spending more doesn’t look much better.

Sopko says the US has pledged to send at least 50 percent of its “development assistance” directly to the Afghan government, but with no real accountability and little being done about fraud and corruption, the plan is likely to draw growing criticism from Congress.

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