U.S. Funded Industrial Park in Afghanistan Found With Only One Business and No Electricity . . . And Missing Records

158px-flag_of_afghanistansvgWe have yet another example of how we are wasting billions of dollars in Afghanistan where a combination of incompetence and corruption continues to drain the U.S. treasury. This week, SIGAR released two reports showing how, an inspection of the $7.8 million Shorandam Industrial Park in Kandahar is an utter failure and how the money to create a sustainable source of power for Kandahar City has left the city literally in the dark. Once again, there is no indication of any discipline or action taken against those who approve such projects and oversee such failures.

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 to buildings that seem to “melt away”. 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.

In this latest case, SIGAR found only one active Afghan business at the park, which was designed to accommodate 48 businesses. Notably, SIGAR inspectors found that they could not full assess the site because there was a lack of electricity and the contract files were mysteriously missing — leaving them also both literally and figuratively in the dark.

The missing contract files are a signature for our contractors in Afghanistan. An inspection of USAID-funded facility at Gorimar Industrial Park in Balkh province also found the files missing.

25 thoughts on “U.S. Funded Industrial Park in Afghanistan Found With Only One Business and No Electricity . . . And Missing Records”

  1. “Most of these decisions on the ground are made not by political appointees or elected officials. They are made by high-level career bureaucrats.”

    No, they are not. You misunderestimate how these decisions are made.

    You don’t consider how many appointees and advisors/consultants there are in the government, not to mention contractors.

    For significant spending projects, the civil service is reduced to trying to ensure that the process has the appearance of legality while awarding funds to the pre-selected organization.

    The project will be contracted out. Administration of the project will be contracted out. And even auditing/accounting of the project will be contracted out. For all of _those_ people, waste=profit.

  2. Why dont we Americans build an industrial park in Canfield Village next to Ferguson. This is where Michael Brown was hanging out with step granma.
    Instead of trillions in Afghanistan how about a few million in Ferguson and Canfield? Dont ask me, I dont give a damn, next stop is Vietnam. Thats right. I am an American now. No longer do I live on Remulak. I am for Ferguson. Stand up and be counted.

  3. Yeah, the sooner we turn off the spigot of money to this ridiculous behemoth of bureaucrats, the better off we, and the rest of the world will be. They take our tax money and just create problems around the world that we hire more and more people and services to “fix.” Can’t the people just announce one day a “Yahoo Remix” and send pink slips to almost every department in the government, especially the department of Foreign Entanglements… I mean Relations…

  4. Most of these decisions on the ground are made not by political appointees or elected officials. They are made by high-level career bureaucrats.

    Congress approved the funds in some huge omnibus spending bill. The political appointees at the head of the agencies may direct some specific spending for a pet project, but once congress approves the funds the career bureaucrats argue over who gets what amount. Then they spend it. Often very stupidly, but these bureaucrats KNOW there is zero accountability…

    The late great Margaret Thatcher said it best… “Sooner or later, they run out of other people’s money.”

  5. All of my Clinton Loving Democratic Friends that have blocked me on Facebook would deny all this

  6. Dan,

    “These decisions are made by politicians and appointees, not “officials”.”

    In some cases I think you are right. But a federal agencies has great discretion when exercising its vast powers (some at least). High level officials wield great power in decision-making and the consequences are great.

  7. As a fiscal conservative, this kind of news just makes me howl. I hate the waste and corruption.

  8. This thread has potential for remaining civil, not the genre that attracts the toxic types.

    Obama put himself in a box by campaigning that Afghanistan was the righteous war. We need military in that 14th century country and no other funding, just policing.

  9. No surprise here. The purpose of attack was to secure the Caspian Sea pipeline for the oil corporations. The contracts and all that money went to various corporations who got it for nothing. The Taliban (a US CIA creation) had nearly eradicated the poppy crops but Blackwater reinvigorated the crops making Afghanistan the go-to place for heroin production. War is very profitable except for most of the soldiers and all of the victims of the brutality.

  10. These decisions are made by politicians and appointees, not “officials”.

    They can be held accountable only at the polls, but the majority only continue to vote for more.

  11. There’s talk about freeing up $50 billion for Iran, doesn’t anybody in government remember the U.S. embassy attack during the Carter administration?

  12. The contract files were missing! What a coincidence. Who was in charge when this contract was given. Prosecute him. Its way past time that this kind of accountability was had for the billions thrown away in Afganistan!

  13. And this is news? What about “the sports mural in Baghdad’s most dangerous neighborhood in the hopes of promoting reconciliation through art? How about an isolated milk factory that has no way of getting milk to market? Or perhaps a pastry class preparing Iraqi women to open quaint cafe’s on bombed out streets that still lack water and electricity?” Anybody read Peter Van Buren’s, (a State Dept. Foreign Service Officer for two decades), chronicles of his year in Afghanistan? No? I am not surprised. That’s American news media.
    WE MEANT WELL: HOW I HELPED LOSE THE BATTLE FOR THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF THE IRAQI PEOPLE, written in 2011 it describes how; “Van Buren led a State Department Provincial Reconstruction team on a quixotic crusade to rebuild a society [we had just destroyed] they knew nothing about…he details the pointless projects, the widespread beureaucratic fumbling and lack of strategic direction, the overwhelmed and overburdened soldiers, and the obliviousness of administrators isolated in the world’s largest embassy, who fail to realize you can’t rebuild a country without first picking up the trash.”
    Meanwhile, while we have poured TRILLIONS into Afghanistan and Iraq, back at home here our kids are struggling with huge student debt to get a college education. I think we would have gotten a bigger bang for our buck if we had invested those trillions of dollars into a FREE UNIVERSITY education for all who want it.

  14. You have not, apparently, gotten the message that our purpose for being in Afghanistan is to spend money. We are not there to “deny them space in which to plan their attacks” as our president says, using perfect grammar to spout utter nonsense, but to funnel cash from the US Tresury into the pockets of verious political donors, so that the financial burden of Citizens United falls on the taxpayer rather than on the corporate donors.

  15. I am no longer sure there is a part of the U.S. government that actually does its job properly. Officially, we are going to hell in a handbag.

  16. We all need to pay more attention to the jingoes. “The smell of pollution is the smell of success.” “It’s the entrepreneurial spirit of companies like Blackwater that made America great.” “Mission Accomplished” “Fool me once, umm, fool me twice, umm umm”

    I like the Ancient Roman manners of dealing with incompetent leaders: falling on a sword-you could raffle off the place of the sword holder, walking a thousand miles without any sustenance, the arena, etc. If the rewards are so great, why aren’t the penalties?

  17. “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. ”

    “Former Blackwater gets rich as Afghan drug production hits record high”

    “Opium poppy cultivation is up in Afghanistan despite the infamous mercenary firm formerly known as Blackwater being paid $569m by the Pentagon to stop it”

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/31/blackwater-gets-rich-afghanistan-drug-production

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