Arnold Fields, the special inspector general for Afghanistan, announced his resignation late on Monday evening — news that has virtually disappeared among all the other headlines from the Arizona shootings to Joe Biden's surprise trip to Kabul. Yet the departure of the top US official who set up Sigar, the office charged with making sure that the $56bn that has been spent in Afghanistan was not wasted has the potential to be a milestone in the war in that country.
Fields, a former major general in the US Marines, has been under public attack for over 18 months. Critics from Senator Tom Coburn, a Republican from Oklahoma, to Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri, have been calling for his resignation for months, as have watchdog groups like the Project on Government Oversight.
The nadir of his two-year tenure came last November when McCaskill invited six other inspector generals to testify at a hearing on his failures. Instead of addressing the specific charges, such as why his agency had only audited four out of 7,000 contracts issued to date, Fields chose to focus on his childhood as an African American in South Carolina...
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