Report: Pentagon Sank $3M Into Boats That Never Sailed in Afghanistan

Friday, 13 Jun 2014 10:43 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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The Pentagon sank $3 million of taxpayers' money into eight patrol boats for Afghan security forces that never left the United States, The Washington Times reports.

The small, semi-inflatable craft were meant to help Afghanistan secure the country's Amu Darya river border with Uzbekistan. But they were never shipped over to Afghanistan's military, and instead they are gathering dust in a Virginia warehouse.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has now admitted that the military has been unable to provide records "that would answer the most basic questions" surrounding this $3 million purchase.

The patrol boats — the same type is often used by police forces in the United States — are stored, unused, at the naval station in Yorktown, and SIGAR investigators say the Pentagon cannot explain why they were never shipped to the strife-torn country, the Times said. The Amu Darya river makes up most of Afghanistan's 130-mile border with Uzbekistan.

"The list of unanswered questions is particularly troubling given the fact that this program had been an important national security priority for the Afghan National Security Forces prior to its cancellation," SIGAR chief John Sopko said in a letter to military leaders.

"This is not the first time SIGAR has been confronted with lapses in record keeping, which hinder our ability to conduct our congressionally mandated mission to oversee U.S. reconstruction funds."

The agency said the decision not to transfer the boats to Afghanistan was made before the boats were completed.

The Times noted that the latest example of wasteful federal spending won't float taxpayers' boat and is likely to give them "a sinking feeling."

And for that reason, the newspaper gave the Defense Department this week's Golden Hammer, which is awarded by the paper for examples of fiscal waste, fraud, or abuse.


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