I have previously written about the waste of billions of dollars by the government without any significant discipline of government officials. We have become accustomed to reports of unimaginable corruption and waste in Afghanistan from bags of money delivered to officials to constructing huge buildings immediately torn down to buying aircraft that cannot be used. Much like our useless campaign against poppy production where we continued to spend billions because no one had the courage to end or change the program. We now have another such example from Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John Sopko about a $500,000 facility that was built and just left to “melt away” within four months of being built. Of course, contractors and corrupt Afghan officials have made huge amounts of money from such waste. Billions have disappeared while our own science, educational, and infrastructure programs are being cut. The flow of U.S. money however has not ended. After a trillion dollars, our government is on course to spend billions more in the country.
The latest example of waste is the $456,669 Afghan Special Police Training Center’s dry fire range. Notably, within four months, the buildings are disintegrating because of the contractor’s use of defective construction methods and materials. However, the Defense Department has followed its past pattern and declined to hold the contractor responsible for what could be viewed as fraud or criminal neglect in the construction of the building.
The police training center’s dry fire range (DFR) was commissioned by the U.S. government but quickly fell apart after its completion in 2012. It was built under the supervision of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) but actually built by the Afghan contractor, Qesmatullah Nasrat Construction (QNCC). QNCC reportedly used shoddy material that allowed water to become trapped between the walls and causing extensive structural failures. Likewise, while QNCC was supposed to use the standard building paper, gravel and asphalt on the roof, it simply used plastic sheeting before setting the concrete. Down spouts were left unconnected to drainage pipes and undersized, inferior bricks used made mostly of sand with little clay.
The most significant question however is not the fact that an Afghan contractor may have ripped off the United States (and its own countrymen). There is unfortunately nothing new in such a story. The question is again why nothing was done to hold either the contractor or the supervising CENTCOM officials accountable for this latest waste.
After years of outrage of billions in waste, it is clear that there is no serious pressure on U.S. officials to guarantee that over a trillion dollars is being spent appropriately. There is no report on the CENTCOM people overseeing this project being fired or severely disciplined, for example. It is just another half a million dollars poured into the cesspool of Afghan corruption. In the meantime, my kids sit in public school classes in Fairfax County with over 35 other kids because there is no money to hire teachers.