US military spent $34 million on Afghan base they won't even use, watchdog reports



Afghan local policemen (ALP) walk to their positions after inspecting their targets during a training session conducted by US Marines from 1st battalion 7th Marines Regiment at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Jackson, also known as Sabit Khadam, in Sangin in Helmand Province on June 6, 2012. The US-led war in Afghanistan has cost the lives of around 3,000 U.S. and allied troops, seen thousands of Afghans killed and cost hundreds of billions of dollars.


Adek Berry

The United States spent $34 million in taxpayer money for a new military base in Afghanistan that will not be occupied, much less used, according to a new report from the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). 

The sprawling 64,000-square-foot complex in Afghanistan's volatile Helmand province was deemed unnecessary by military commanders three years ago. It was built anyway, apparently — that according to SIGAR Inspector General John F. Sopko, who wrote

"[T]he military still moved ahead with the construction project and continued to purchase equipment and make various improvements to the building in early 2013. Based on these preliminary findings, I am deeply troubled that the military may have spent taxpayer funds on a construction project that should have been stopped."

Sopko called the project a "potentially troubling example of waste" and demanded a response from the Defense Department no later than July 25, according to the Voice of America.

Defense Department spokesman George Little told VOA on Wednesday that the report is being reviewed, saying: "I think it is going to take us a little bit of time to review the findings and to coordinate with the SIGAR." 

A watchdog organization, the SIGAR was set up in 2012 by US lawmakers concerned with reports of government waste and corruption in Afghanistan.

Sopko's letter was sent to the Pentagon on July 8 but released to media on Wednesday.