Millions lost in Afghan reconstruction

2012-07-31 22:18
Inspection at reconstruction site.  (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Dallas Edwards)

Inspection at reconstruction site. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Dallas Edwards)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - Millions of dollars in US funds have been lost due to poor planning and workmanship in projects to help rebuild Afghanistan and billions more could be at risk, a US watchdog said on Monday.

The report by the special inspector general for Afghanistan, John Sopko, warned that handing over security to Afghan forces as the US withdraws its troops would also likely cause the costs of US-funded aid schemes to balloon.

"The United States risks wasting billions of dollars if US-funded development programmes cannot be sustained, either by the Afghan government or by continued donor support," said the report released on Monday.

"As this report to Congress illustrates, a decade of struggle and bloodshed - and more than $89bn of US appropriations for Afghan reconstruction - has not cleared the landscape of serious problems," Sopko wrote.

He added that a "significant portion of the US government's $400m investment in large-scale infrastructure projects in fiscal year 2011 may be wasted, due to weaknesses in planning, co-ordination and execution."

The report comes as Nato countries, led by the United States, have already started to withdraw the remaining 130 000 troops after more than 10 years of war, with all combat forces due to have left by the end of 2014.

And it warns that handing over security to Afghan forces will likely incur greater costs at construction sites.

Audits of various projects taking place across the country found significant construction problems and flaws.

"The US Army accepted contract construction that is so poor it prevents some multimillion-dollar border police bases from being used as intended," the report noted.

Unconnected drains

Three police border posts in eastern Nangarhar province were found to have major construction faults, including poorly-built guard towers, unconnected drains and badly-installed heating and ventilation systems.

"These problems included the lack of a viable water supply, a poorly constructed septic system, and inadequate sewage," the report said, adding nothing has been repaired as there is no effective quality assurance in place.

The basement of one of the buildings was now being used as a chicken coop, it added.

The analysis examines the Afghan Infrastructure Fund, which was authorized by Congress in 2010. Over the past two years, Congress has invested $800m into the fund, and the State Department has committed about $1bn of its funds to related infrastructure programmes.

Following complaints about shoddy workmanship, there had been arrests and charges brought in both the United States and Afghanistan and more than $900 000 had been recovered.

Several contracts were also withdrawn when poor contractors were uncovered, leading to the protection of some $50m  in contract funds. Two people had been convicted, one of theft and conspiracy.

If US lawmakers approve a request from US President Barack Obama for new reconstruction funding, the United States will have provided nearly $100bn since the 2002 US-led invasion to rebuilding Afghanistan.

Marshall Plan

That is several times more than the $35bn, in 2011 terms, invested in West Germany after World War II, the report said.

"Using that money effectively to improve security, governance, and socio-economic development in Afghanistan poses tremendous challenges," Sopko wrote.

"In the face of serious uncertainties about project sustainability, the need for sharp and effective oversight grows more critical."

Sopko vowed his office would step up its oversight, saying security and sustainability were the biggest challenges for Afghanistan's reconstruction.

"Many billions of dollars of US investments in Afghanistan may be wasted without arrangements to ensure that the Afghans have adequate personnel, skills, access to technology, funding, and planning and oversight mechanisms to sustain them," he warned.

Read more on:    nato  |  us  |  afghanistan
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Oscar Pistorius
 

6 impressive camping tips

Check out these great tips that will make your camping experience so much better!

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Free outdoor yoga classes
Watch: 5 skills to improve your BMX riding
Action camera for all occasions
Tips on how to set your fitness goals

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Sales Consultant

Cape Town CBD
Mpumalanga Personnel & Training Consultants

Bar Lady & Waitress - Milnerton

West Coast
Your Move Personnel
R1 500 - R2 000 Per Month

Customer Service Advisor

Cape Town
Teleresources Cape Town
R5 000 Per Month

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong social and romantic overtone that plays its way into your day. It may get stronger later in the day when the...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.