US Watchdog for Afghanistan reconstruction resigns

WASHINGTON — The US official in charge of overseeing the billions of dollars being spent to rebuild Afghanistan announced his resignation Monday, just a week after he fired two of his top deputies in a major shake-up of the organization.
Arnold Fields' decision to step down comes after key members of Congress urged US President Barack Obama to dismiss him for incompetence and mismanagement. His critics claimed he failed to aggressively oversee the more than $56 billion the US has poured into Afghanistan since 2002 to rebuild schools, roads and other facilities.
In a brief statement, Fields said he would use the next month to ensure a smooth transition of his duties to his replacement, who has not yet been named. The statement did not say why Fields decided to resign. Susan Phalen, Fields' spokeswoman, said only that he met with White House officials on Friday and told them of his plans to leave the post.
In a separate statement, the White House praised Fields for his "hard work and steadfast determination."