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Hundreds of billions were spent by the US in Afghanistan. Here are 10 of the starkest examples of ‘waste, fraud and abuse’


The entire price of the battle, in keeping with the Pentagon, was $825 billion, a low-end estimate: even President Joe Biden has cited an estimate that put the quantity at over double that — greater than $2 trillion, a determine that components in long-term prices akin to veterans’ care. The curiosity on the debt runs into lots of of billions already.

A State Division spokesperson informed CNN that they had requested SIGAR to “briefly” take away the reviews, owing “to security and safety issues concerning our ongoing evacuation efforts.” They added SIGAR had the authority to revive them “when it deems acceptable.”

What follows are 10 notable instances, stripped of figuring out particulars, collated by CNN through the years.

1) Kabul’s winter blanket

The Tarakhil energy plant was commissioned in 2007 as a backup generator for the capital, in case electrical energy provide from Uzbekistan was compromised.

An enormous, fashionable construction, it ran on diesel-fueled generators, equipped by a brand-name engineering large. There was one catch: Afghanistan had scant diesel provide of its personal and needed to ship the gas in by truck — making the plant too costly to run.

The ability itself price $335 million to construct, and had an estimated annual gas price of $245 million. The latest SIGAR evaluation mentioned at finest it was used at simply 2.2% capability, because the Afghan authorities couldn’t afford the gas. USAID declined to remark.

Traffic passes by the Tarakhil power plant in September 2011.

2) A half-billion-dollar fleet of cargo planes that flew for a 12 months

Afghanistan’s fledgling air pressure wanted cargo planes. In 2008, the Pentagon selected the G222 — an Italian-designed plane designed to take off and land on tough runways. That first 12 months, in keeping with a speech made by SIGAR’s chief John Sopko, citing a USAF officer, the planes had been very busy.

However they might not be sustainable. The plane had been solely seen by SIGAR when Sopko seen them parked at Kabul airport and requested what they had been doing there.

Six years after the procurement was launched, the 16 plane delivered to Afghanistan had been offered for scrap for $40,257. The price of the challenge: $549 million.

3) The $36 million Marines HQ within the desert, neither needed nor used

Sopko mentioned in a speech this 64,000-square foot management heart in Helmand epitomized how when a challenge begins, it typically can’t be stopped.

In 2010, the Marines had been surging troop numbers in Helmand, the deadliest a part of Afghanistan. A command and management heart on the principle base of Camp Leatherneck was ordained as a part of the trouble, though Sopko recalled the bottom commander and two different marine generals mentioned it was not wanted as it will not be accomplished quick sufficient.

Sopko mentioned the considered returning the funds allotted to Congress was “was so abhorrent to the contracting command, it was constructed anyway. The ability was by no means occupied, Camp Leatherneck was turned over to the Afghans, who deserted it.”

It price $36 million, was by no means used, and appears to have been later stripped by the Afghans, who additionally by no means appeared to make use of it.

Main Robert Lodewick, a DoD spokesman, mentioned in a press release the SIGAR report contained “factual errors,” objected to the way it implied “malfeasance” by some officers, and mentioned the $36 million determine included ancillary prices like roads to the HQ.

US Marine MSgt. Charles Albrecht watches a construction crew working on a massive new base at Camp Letherneck, Helmand province, in March 2009.

4) $28 million on an inappropriate camouflage sample

In 2007, new uniforms had been being ordered for the Afghan military. The Afghan protection minister Wardak mentioned he needed a uncommon camouflage sample, “Spec4ce Forest,” from Canadian firm HyperStealth.

A complete of 1.3 million units had been ordered, costing $43-80 every, versus $25-30 initially estimated for alternative uniforms. The uniforms had been by no means examined or evaluated within the subject, and there may be simply 2.1% forest cowl throughout Afghanistan.

In testimony, Sopko mentioned it price taxpayers an additional $28 million to purchase the uniforms with a patented sample, and SIGAR projected in 2017 a distinct selection of sample may have saved a possible $72 million over the subsequent decade.

DoD spokesman Lodewick mentioned the report “overestimated” the price, and “incorrectly discredited the worth of the kind of sample chosen,” including a number of the combating in Afghanistan occurred in verdant areas.

5) $1.5 million day by day on combating opium manufacturing

The US spent $1.5 million a day on counter-narcotics packages (from 2002 to 2018). Opium production was, in keeping with the final SIGAR report, up in 2020 by 37% in comparison with the 12 months earlier than. This was the third-highest yield since data started in 1994.

In 2017, manufacturing was 4 instances what it was in 2002. A State division spokesperson famous “the Taliban have been the first issue contributing to poppy’s persistence lately” and “that the Taliban have dedicated to banning narcotics.”

A tractor eradicates opium poppies in Nangarhar province in January 2007.

6) $249 million on an incomplete highway

An intensive ring highway round Afghanistan was funded by a number of grants and donors, totaling billions throughout the course of the battle. In direction of the top of the challenge, a 233-kilometer part within the North, between the cities of Qeysar and Laman, led to $249 million being handed out to contractors, however solely 15% of the highway being constructed, a SIGAR audit reported.

Between March 2014 and September 2017, there was no development on this part, and what had been constructed deteriorated, the report concluded. USAID declined to remark.

7) $85 million resort that by no means opened

An intensive resort and condominium complicated was commissioned subsequent to the US Embassy in Kabul, for which the US authorities offered $85 million in loans.

In 2016, SIGAR concluded “the $85 million in loans is gone, the buildings had been by no means accomplished and are uninhabitable, and the U.S. Embassy is now compelled to offer safety for the location at extra price to U.S. taxpayers.”

The audit concluded the contractor made unrealistic guarantees to safe the loans, and that the department of the US authorities who oversaw the challenge by no means visited the location, and neither did the corporate they later employed to supervise the challenge. A State division spokesperson mentioned they didn’t handle the development and it was “a personal endeavor.”

8) The fund that spent extra on itself than Afghanistan

The Pentagon created the Process Power for Enterprise and Stability Operations (TFBSO) expanded from Iraq to incorporate Afghanistan in 2009, for whose operations in Afghanistan Congress put aside $823 million.

Over half the cash really spent by TFBSO — $359 million of $675 million — was “spent on oblique and assist prices, circuitously on tasks in Afghanistan,” SIGAR concluded in an audit.

They reviewed 89 of the contracts TFBSO made, and located “7 contracts value $35.1 million had been awarded to companies using former TFBSO workers as senior executives.”

An audit additionally concluded that the fund spent about $6 million on supporting the cashmere trade, $43 million on a compressed pure fuel station, and $150 million on high-end villas for its workers.

DoD spokesman Lodewick mentioned SIGAR didn’t accuse anybody of fraud or the misuse of funds, took situation with “weaknesses and shortcomings” within the audit, and mentioned “28 of TFBSO’s 35 tasks met or partially met their meant aims.”

9) The healthcare facility within the sea

A 2015 report into USAID’s funding of healthcare amenities in Afghanistan mentioned that over a 3rd of the 510 tasks that they had been given coordinates for, didn’t exist in these places. 13 had been “not situated in Afghanistan, with one situated within the Mediterranean Sea.” Thirty “had been situated in a province completely different from the one USAID reported.”

And “189 confirmed no bodily construction inside 400 toes of the reported coordinates. Just below half of those places, confirmed no bodily construction inside a half mile of the reported coordinates.” The audit mentioned that USAID and the Afghan ministry of Public Well being may solely present “oversight of those amenities [if they] know the place they’re.” USAID declined to remark.

10) At the least $19 billion misplaced to “waste, fraud, abuse”

An October 2020 report offered a startling complete for the battle. Congress on the time had appropriated $134 billion since 2002 for reconstruction in Afghanistan.

SIGAR was capable of overview $63 billion of it — practically half. They concluded $19 billion of that — virtually a 3rd — was “misplaced to waste, fraud, and abuse.”

DoD spokesman Lodewick mentioned they and “a number of different U.S. Authorities departments and companies are already on report as having challenged a few of these reviews as inaccurate and deceptive” and that their conclusions “appeared to miss the distinction between reconstruction efforts that will have been mismanaged willfully/negligently and people efforts that, on the time of the report, merely had fallen wanting strategic targets.”



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