Watchdog for Afghanistan reconstruction resigns

Monday - 1/10/2011, 8:08pm EST

By Jolie Lee
Federal News Radio

Ret. Major General Arnold Fields is resigning as Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).

Fields was appointed SIGAR in June 2008 and oversaw a staff of 120 people, according to a White House statement on Monday.

His responsibilities included producing "critical reports that have improved reconstruction efforts, and helped insure that U.S.-funded programs are achieving their objectives," according to the statement.

The resignation comes within a week of Fields firing two of his deputies in order to bring in "new blood." Fields has come under attack by lawmakers who claim he has failed to oversee the $56 billion in U.S. funds since 2002 to improve infrastructure in Afghanistan.

In a statement Monday, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said the news of Fields' resignation was a first step toward "the correct path" for oversight in Afghanistan.

"It is now critical that the administration appoint a leader who will provide aggressive and thorough oversight of the billions of dollars spent on reconstruction in Afghanistan," Collins said.

--The Associated Press contributed to this story.