WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — A massive amount of taxpayer-paid products have gone to waste in the Afghanistan war, as a clearer picture of what was never used and what was left behind is formed as U.S. troops withdraw.
A new CBS News report finds that eight inflatable boats were purchased by the Pentagon in 2010 for $3 million, although used for Afghan national police patrols, they now sit in an unused Navy warehouse in Virginia. An estimated $600 million was never used for C-27 aircrafts sitting on runways in Germany and Kabul. And a $34 million command center in Helman “will probably be leveled.”
“It’s like you gave your credit card to your teenage daughter or son and then you just never looked at the bills,” John F. Sopko, special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, tells CBS News.
A taxpayer tab of more than $100 billion has been allocated for Afghanistan relief and reconstruction, but tracking the money is next to impossible, Sopko says.
“We don’t even have a list from (the Defense Department) of where they spent the money. We have no centralized list of where the taxpayer money went in Afghanistan,” he told CBS News.
In regards to the unused boats, Sopko notes that they will likely “be sold for scrap or sold for pennies on the dollar.” And as far as the command center, he said “it is the best constructed building” he’s seen in Afghanistan, but it will likely be leveled because the Afghans “can’t use it, they can’t maintain it.”
In a statement to CBS News, the Pentagon responded it seeks “to ensure every reconstruction project is executed in a manner that demonstrates responsible stewardship of taxpayers’ dollars. … Working in a wartime environment such as Afghanistan brings with it many challenges, and we continually seek to improve our processes.”
The statement continues: “While there have been some instances of underperforming projects, these are vastly outweighed by the positive cumulative impact of the wide array of successful projects.”