Lax U.N. oversight of the international fund to pay Afghan National Police salaries has contributed to the diversion of up to $200 million by Afghanistan's Interior Ministry for questionable practices, according to a U.S. watchdog agency.

The Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction on Monday released correspondence among Special Inspector General John F. Sopko, U.S. commanders in Afghanistan and the U.N. Development Programing outlining the agency's concerns about administration of the fund, to which the U.S. has contributed roughly $3.17 billion since 2002.

Sopko's letters raise concerns about fraud in the program, known as the Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan, that includes inflated salaries, possible ghost employees and dubious "deductions" from police salaries from the Interior Ministry for taxes and pensions.

On Sept. 12, Sopko wrote U.N. Development Program Administrator Helen Clark, a former prime minister of New Zealand, saying her agency's response to the U.S. concerns was "disturbingly ambiguous" and "reinforces my view that UNDP is not taking a proactive approach to oversight of this important reconstruction fund."

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