Shades of Iraq in Afghanistan? Problems with shoddy contracting work
A Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) report singled out a $78 million contract to build a garrison for the Afghan National Army as of particular concern.
SIGAR, the US government body assigned to audit and oversee US spending on reconstruction projects in Afghanistan, has released the latest in a series of reports detailing contractor failings with minimal accountability in Afghanistan.Skip to next paragraph
Dan Murphy is a staff writer for the Monitor's international desk, focused on the Middle East. Murphy, who has reported from Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, and more than a dozen other countries, writes and edits Backchannels. The focus? War and international relations, leaning toward things Middle East.
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The report out today focuses on $72.8 million contracted to DynCorp international by the Army Corps of Engineers to build "Camp Pamir" for the Afghan National Army in Kunduz Province, which is meant to house 1,800 Afghan soldiers. The specifics of the report are reminiscent of dozens of previous reports on US contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade. In Iraq, contracting problems were apparent almost from the start of the war. (I wrote in June 2004 on shoddy school reconstruction in Iraq.)
When the inspector general for Iraq reconstruction closed up shop, its final report fretted that "billions" of US taxpayer money may have been wasted while enriching contractors. That there are major problems in Afghanistan as well has been long understood.
So the latest report is just a reminder that huge amounts of money have been wasted for a decade and that administrations – both Democrat and Republican – have failed to plug the leaks. The same defense and development contractors' names come up again and again on these reports and individual contracts get black marks for poor execution, but when its time to start passing out money again, they remain at the front of queue.
What happened this time?