Afghanistan's Information and Communications Technology Sector: U.S. Agencies Obligated Over $2.6 Billion to the Sector, but the Full Scope of U.S. Efforts is Unknown [open pdf - 867KB]
"In 2001, Afghanistan had only a rudimentary telecommunications system located in major cities and along its borders. Since then, considerable development has taken place as a result of private sector investment, as well as the Afghan government and international partners' efforts. According to U.S. and Afghan officials, the information and communications technology (ICT) sector is generally seen as a success. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) reports that, among other things, the sector contributed $1.81 billion in revenues to the Afghan government in 2013, employs about 130,000 Afghans, and provides mobile phone services to roughly 90 percent of the population. Private sector investment alone had reached $2 billion by 2013. Additionally, the Department of Defense (DOD) estimates that the ICT sector could generate an additional $1 billion in revenue per year to the Afghan government within the next decade from data transit tariffs and the provision of information services. U.S. agencies and other stakeholders have recognized the importance of the ICT sector to Afghanistan's economic success. For example, the ICT sector has become a key enabler of the Afghan government and has expanded its ability to communicate with Afghan citizens. In addition, the sector includes communications networks that are critical to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces' (ANDSF) operations. The objectives of the audit were to determine (1) the scope of U.S. agencies' efforts to develop Afghanistan's ICT sector since 2002 and (2) the extent to which the agencies coordinated these efforts."
SIGAR 16-46 Audit Report
Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC): http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/