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McCaskill Encouraged After Visit to Afghanistan

Senator Claire McCaskill is currently abroad on a Congressional Delegation trip where she just visited Afghanistan and Pakistan. During her visit she spoke with Missouri troops stationed overseas, focused on oversight of government contracting abroad, and discussed national security concerns. KSMU’s Adam Murphy reports.

The Senator joined reporters on a conference call from India. She said she traveled throughout Afghanistan and Pakistan to understand the environment firsthand from the ground. McCaskill says the visit gave her encouragement that the steps being taken by the U.S. and Afghanistan right now will offer a real chance for success.

McCaskill’s trip is focusing on the oversight of government contracting in Afghanistan. This was a subject of controversy in Iraq where the contracts were issued to one group without competing bids. McCaskill is chair of the Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight in the U.S. Senate. She says she believes that the situation in Afghanistan is much different than in Iraq.

“But I am encouraged by the fact that you have the right people in the room talking to each other and you have the right people in the room acknowledging that they have a very big responsibility to make sure that the money is being spent the way it’s supposed to be spent and that we’re getting value. I think that they have made significant progress. It’s too early to tell how successful the effort will be, but I think the effort’s being made,“ said McCaskill.

According to McCaskill, several programs are now in place to make sure there is transparency and efficiency when the U.S. government signs a contract with a company for work abroad. She said these programs focus on audits, better tracking of expenses and progress, and a move toward contracting with Afghan companies so locals can have a feeling of ownership.

McCaskill said her conversations with the Afghan people have shown her that they are on board, want to succeed, and view the efforts as collaborative between the United States and the people of the war-torn Asian nation.

For KSMU News, I’m Adam Murphy