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US goes high-tech to help oversee Afghan aid work

March 15, 2014 • National News


Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during his final address to parliament during its opening session at the parliament house in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, March 15, 2014. Karzai said the last 12 years of war were “imposed” on Afghans, a reference to the U.S.-led invasion that ousted the Taliban. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The main U.S. foreign assistance agency wants to step up use of smartphones, satellite imagery and GPS cameras to oversee tax-funded development projects in Afghanistan that aid workers no longer will be able to observe firsthand as American troops leave the country.

The U.S. Agency for International Development on Saturday began seeking bids on a monitoring project contract that could cost up to $170 million. The agency hopes the five-year project will allow aid work to continue in Afghanistan despite the troop drawdown and will satisfy lawmakers and others who have criticized the agency for weak monitoring.

Unless security improves significantly, Afghans hired by USAID contractors will increasingly be on the front line of overseeing the agency’s largest single-country program.

“As the U.S. prepares to have a smaller military footprint, it could become increasingly challenging for us to do our direct monitoring and have U.S. Login to read more

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