What We Need to Learn: Lessons From Twenty Years of Afghanistan Reconstruction


John F. Sopko

Date of Event



Case Law alum John F. Sopko (’77) was sworn in as Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction on July 2, 2012. He was appointed by President Obama, served under President Trump, and continues to serve under President Biden. Inspector General Sopko has more than 30 years of experience in oversight and investigations as a prosecutor, congressional counsel, and senior federal government advisor. For the last ten years, he and his staff have raised concerns about waste, fraud, and abuse of US assistance funds for Afghanistan, as well as the sustainability and viability of the Afghan government and military ahead of the US withdrawal in 2021. Inspector General Sopko continues to advocate for stringent oversight of the billions in US and other international assistance to Afghanistan that has been provided for the Afghan people since the sanctioned Taliban’s regime’s return to power, despite the regime’s dire human and gender rights record. In his presentation, he will discuss what worked and what didn’t during the United States’ 20-year engagement in Afghanistan and identify lessons from America’s longest war that are applicable to similar efforts in other contingency environments, including the international effort in Ukraine.

Lecture Series

Frederick K. Cox International Law Center

Subject Headings

Afghanistan Reconstruction, United States and Afghanistan, transitional justice, international law


CWRU School of Law, A59, Mootcourt Room

Document Type