Report: US to Lose Billions in Iraq, Afghan Projects

Friday, 03 Jun 2011 11:57 AM

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Unless immediate steps are taken, the United States will lose billions it has sunk into reconstruction projects in Iraq and Afghanistan. A new study has concluded that provisions to maintain the projects after they are completed are inadequate, The Washington Post reported.

commission report iraq constructionThe report from the bipartisan Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan says there is no indication that the Pentagon, the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development are “effectively taking sustainability risks into account when devising new projects or programs.”

The commission concluded that unless immediate action is taken “the United States faces new waves of waste in Iraq and Afghanistan,” the Post reported.

The commission was especially concerned about the Afghan army and police force that will need about $8 billion a year to maintain itself, a figure far beyond what the Kabul government can provide. The United States has spent over $11 billion since 2005 to build bases, stations and border outposts for the army and police, the Post reported.

The United States has also spent $35 billion training and equipping Afghan forces and officials argue the $8 billion a year in maintenance costs is cheaper than keeping U.S. forces on the ground.

As an example of waste, the commission report pointed to a $300 million power plant completed a year ago that sits idle because the Afghan government has been able to buy electricity from neighboring Uzbekistan at a fraction of the cost, the Post reported.

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