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“As our U.S. troops continue to withdraw, the amount of territory in Afghanistan that falls outside of the bubble will increase,” he said.

Recently, investigators were unable to travel to a region in northern Afghanistan that was considered to be too dangerous.

“As a result, 38 projects and over $72 million in taxpayer money is beyond our inspection,” he said.

Sopko said he was concerned that many government agencies seemed unprepared for the change in the environment that the withdrawal of U.S. troops would cause.

“This shouldn’t have been a shock or surprise,” he said.  “The administration has been talking about a reduction of troops since way before the last election.”

The U.S. needs to continue to evaluate whether the Afghans need certain projects - and if they can continue to be supported after U.S. funding ends.

“If the Afghans can’t maintain a hospital, why build it?” he said.

Chairman Chaffetz agreed that watchdog efforts need to be maintained.

“Without the proper checks, without the proper balances, without the proper oversight, this money will be pilfered and lost,” he said.

Sopko said that despite many Americans viewing the troop draw-down as an end to the war, it is a critical time to ensure that Afghanistan is properly rebuilt and U.S. funds aren’t continuing to be wasted.

“The success or failure of our entire 10 year engagement in Afghanistan is teetering,” on whether the U.S. can meet its goals, Sopko said.  “Now’s the time.  We have this opportunity, it’s a limited amount of opportunity, it’s and important opportunity to stop, reassess all that money that hasn’t been spent and make a determination: Is it worth the risk?”