U.S. Military Wasted $43 Million On Afghanistan Natural Gas Station

From the AFP via Dawn:
WASHINGTON: The United States (US) military used $43 million of taxpayer money for a natural gas station in northern Afghanistan that should have cost just $500,000, the government watchdog for reconstruction in the war-torn country said Monday.

The huge expense highlights some of the endemic problems that have plagued US aid to Afghanistan in the wake of the 2001 American-led invasion.

In a scathing letter to Defence Secretary Ashton Carter, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John Sopko complained of the project’s “exorbitant cost to US taxpayers”.

“In comparison, SIGAR found that a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) station in Pakistan costs no more than $500,000 to construct.”

And the inspector general said the US military’s Task Force for Stability and Business Operations (TFBSO) failed to conduct a feasibility study before starting construction.

“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 CNG vehicles,” Sopko added in his letter.

“One of the most troubling aspects of this project is that the Department of Defense claims that it is unable to provide an explanation for the high cost of the project or to answer any other questions concerning its planning, implementation or outcome.” […]

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