The Campaign Spot

The $456,000 Afghan Training Center that ‘Disintegrated’ Within Four Months

For those who thought this week couldn’t possibly include yet another infuriating report about money wasted in a well-meaning but poorly implemented project in Afghanistan . . . Ha! There’s always room for another example!

On May 2, 2012, the Regional Contracting Center at Forward Operating Base Shank in Logar province awarded a $456,669 firm fixed-price contract to Qesmatullah Nasrat Construction Company — an Afghan firm — to construct a dry fire range (DFR) for the Afghan Special Police Training Center.

“Dry fire range” means no live ammunition.

The DFR replicates a typical Afghan village and id used to conduct simulated police search and clearance exercises. . . .

Within 4 months of completion, the DFR’s buildings began to disintegrate. These “melting” buildings were the direct result of the construction contractor, Qesmatullah Nasrat Construction Company, failing to adhere to contractual requirements and using substandard bricks and other building materials. Unfortunately, this problem was compounded by poor oversight on the part of the responsible U.S. government officials. . . .

In addition, [a Regional Contracting Center] acquisition analyst 
concluded that “the facility is completely unsafe. . . . It 
appears the contractor intentionally used different 
materials and construction standards to cut costs 
or/and fraud the government. . . . It is recommended that 
the contractor completely deconstruct to the foundation
 and properly construct under close supervision.”

The “happy” ending is that Afghan authorities demolished the buildings on the range and are rebuilding them with funds from the Ministry of Interior. The report from U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction John Sopko concludes:

the fact that the Afghans had to demolish and rebuild the DFR is not only an embarrassment, but, more significantly, a waste of U.S. taxpayers’ money.

God bless the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, putting together detailed, important, informative, and spectacularly depressing reports, year-round.

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