In the wake of terror group ISIS sweeping across Afghanistan, hard questions are being asked about the fiscal accountability of U.S. reconstruction efforts.
An internal audit released Thursday by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) revealed that the U.S. military spent more than $3 million on boats for a landlocked Afghanistan, The Washington Post reports.
Headed by John Sopko, the special inspector general, the report noted that eight patrol boats were purchased in 2010 for roughly $375,000 each, including training and transportation.
The report details a series of penetrating questions with few satisfactory answers coming from The Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan (CSTC-A).
Although the purpose of the boats was to deter smuggling, none of them ever made it to Afghanistan and are currently stationed in a warehouse at a Virginia naval base. Just nine months after the request was issued, CSTC-A cancelled the requirement, but upon inspection, could not locate the cancellation records.
“The list of unanswered questions is particularly troubling given the fact — which CSTC-A acknowledges — that this program had been an important national security priority for the Afghan National Security Forces prior to its cancellation,” said Sopko.
Afghan National Security Forces currently use four boats to patrol rivers in the North and West of Afghanistan, in an attempt to deter illegal entry.
“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,” said Sopko, according to CBS.
“It’s like you gave your credit card to your teenage daughter or son and then you just never looked at the bills.”
CSTC-A stated in response to Sopko’s investigation that it is unaware of whether a feasibility study was conducted before a request for the boats was made. The boats are under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Navy, which is responsible for their appropriate disposal.
This means, according to Sopko, that the boats are “probably going to be sold for scrap or sold for pennies on the dollar.”
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