Inspector found Afghan goat giveaway “lacked accountability”

The “Livestock Improvement Program” aimed to win hearts and minds, one goat at a time

Written by Tom Nash

Government investigators looking for fraud in Afghanistan reconstruction efforts have chased leads ranging from military officers soliciting bribes to contractors using shoddy materials, but one investigation of possible abuse stands out: Documents provided by the little-known Special Inspector General for Afganistan Reconstruction show concerns about nearly non-existent oversight for a program that paired impoverished Afghans with goats.

The heavily redacted report doesn’t reveal how much money the U.S. government spent on the program, dubbed the Livestock Improvement Program, in its initial 2007 run but the investigator appeared skeptical of its effectiveness and worried about the potential for fraud.

The unnamed investigator, who had recently arrived in Afghanistan, began looking into the program when he saw there was “no accountability and or justification” for giving away the goats, apparently dismissing the initial reasoning that it was necessary as a way to “win the hearts and minds of the local population.”

A follow-up report leaves out financial details of the eight payments made for the program. What’s left are less than illuminating observations on how goats could be used to combat Afghan poverty.

“The reason for the … project was due to the low income of the population in [redacted] province,” the report states, noting goats might help through “offspring and goat milk.”

With no evidence of “criminal wrongdoing” and the person who prepared the spotty records unavailable for interview, the SIGAR investigators closed the case.

USAID has continued U.S. goat-giving efforts as recently as 2010.

Read the report embedded below, or on the request page:


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