The Obama Administration has Wasted Billions on Afghanistan Reconstruction
The Obama administration has wasted $109.7 billion of your tax dollars on reconstruction projects in Afghanistan. That’s right, $109.7 billion, not on the war, but failed projects conceived by incompetent Obama bureaucrats. Let’s take a look at some of the ill-conceived, wasteful, doomed to fail projects. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) recently released a report on a natural gas filling station built in Sheberghan under the planning and guidance of the Department of Defense’s (DOD) now defunct Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO). The report outlines in great detail the mountain of problems associated with the $43 million project. The following are some details SIGAR published in its report:
- The normal cost for a natural gas filling station is $200,000 to $500,000.
- The approximate cost to build a natural gas filling station in neighboring Pakistan is $306,000.
- The TFBSO did not conduct a feasibility study prior to beginning the project. In the words of SIGAR, “If TFBSO had conducted a feasibility study of the project, the Task Force might have noted that Afghanistan lacks the natural gas transmission and local distribution infrastructure necessary to support a viable market for natural gas vehicles.”
- The average annual income in Afghanistan is $690. The cost to convert a car to natural gas is $700 per car.
- It took three (3) years to build the natural gas filling station (2011-2014).
The project is another example of how fed gov bureaucrats are incapable of doing anything in America and overseas other than waste your tax dollars.
Another abject failure of the ongoing wasteful reconstruction of Afghanistan is the Afghan Special Police Training Center’s dry fire range. The SIGAR conducted an inspection of the range and released a report
last year that concluded the project was poorly managed by the fedgov bureaucrats who were responsible for choosing the contractor, Qesmatullah Nasrat Construction Company (QNCC), and overseeing the project. The following is a list of problems that led to the failure of the project:
- roofing structure – “QNCC installed roofs using plastic sheeting with a concrete cap instead of building paper with gravel asphalt on top as called for in the statement of work (SOW).”
- drainage system – “QNCC did not properly slope the roof to allow water to drain to collection points linked to downspouts around the roof perimeter. Furthermore, the metal flashing connecting the drain openings to the downspouts had gaps, which allowed water to run down the exterior and interior spaces.”
- brick size and composition – “QNCC used smaller bricks than the SOW required and did not produce a brick of sufficient strength to meet the material strength test.” A field analysis determined that the bricks were made mostly of sand with very little clay content, which caused the bricks to fail.
- interior roof joists and supporting beams – The joists and support beams were so poorly constructed that they “lapped side by side and were not securely fastened to the structure.”
The Obama administration gave QNCC $455,669 of your tax dollars to construct the dry range. Four months after the structure was completed it started to collapse. The Afghan authorities eventually demolished the range due to the aforementioned structural hazards. Prior to the demolition, the Regional Contracting Center (RCC) concluded that “the facility is completely unsafe…It appears the contractor intentionally used different materials and construction standards to cut costs or/and fraud the government…It is recommended that the contractor completely deconstruct the foundation and properly construct under close supervision.” The dry range is gone and there are no plans to build another one.
How about one more boondoggle for your consumption? In February 2012, the Obama administration ordered the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to “solicit bids for and manage construction of an Afghan National Army (ANA) slaughterhouse, with supporting facilities in Pol-i-Charkhi, Kabul province.” The administration earmarked $12 million in federal tax dollars for the project. The plan for the slaughterhouse included the construction of an administrative building, scale house building, waste water treatment plant, a guard house and two guard shacks, two personnel bunkers, diesel power plant, water well, fuel access point, three parking lots, and a perimeter wall. Nine months after construction began the project was terminated for the following reasons:
- Afghans do not refrigerate meat.
- The Afghans have “demonstrated an inability to successfully maintain refrigerating equipment in the long term.”
- The fedgov bureaucrats requested bids that “called for modern equipment that would not be considered halaland would not be used.”
- There is no indication the Afghans have a need for the facility.
- The Afghan government cannot afford the $264,000 per year in maintenance costs.
The list above is a glaring example of the incompetence of fedgov bureaucrats. Bureaucrats wasted your tax dollars because they knew nothing about Afghanistan and Islam. Fortunately, the project was terminated, but not before $1.54 million of your tax dollars were flushed down the toilet. The contractors have requested another $4.23 million, but negotiations on a settlement are ongoing.
It is important to note that the $109.7 billion that has been wasted is not for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, but rather for building an Afghanistan based on the Obama administration’s vision. There were no natural gas filling stations, dry ranges, or slaughterhouses in Afghanistan prior to the war. The Afghanistan reconstruction is an epic boondoggle riddled with fraud, waste, abuse, and incompetence, and the American people should demand that it be terminated immediately.