Paul Szoldra at Business Insider reports:
The U.S. unnecessarily paid $6.3 million on contracts for Afghan police vehicles from April 2011 to September 2012, according to a report released last week from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).
The latest gross overpayment stems largely from cash going to maintenance on vehicles that have been out of service for over a year or even had been destroyed.
As of November 2012, the U.S. has provided over 30,000 vehicles to the Afghan National Police (ANP), but the study shows a force still struggling with logistics and training needed to provide their own maintenance — forcing the U.S. to rely on outside contractors.
According to national security expert Anthony Cordesman, the U.S. is at least partly to blame.
“The bulk of the money actually spent inside Afghanistan went through poorly supervised military contracts and through aid projects where the emphasis was speed, projected starts, and measuring progress in terms of spending rather than results,” he wrote in a brief for the Center for Strategic & International Studies.
This isn’t the first such report from SIGAR. A cursory look at their website finds allegations of fraud, waste, and abuse as common in Afghanistan as dirt.
One report highlighted major problems with the country’s financial sector, where the U.S. still has extremely limited visibility over the cash it doles out, “leaving [it] vulnerable to fraud or diversion to insurgents.”
Other reports filed in late 2012 indicate that a trend of waste will continue, such as one showing the DoD paid $12.8 million for equipment that went completely unused, or another showing the U.S. government clueless over what happened with $201 million in fuel purchases for the Afghan National Army, due to records being shredded.
The total cost to the U.S. for the Afghan war, including war operations, diplomatic operations, and medical care for veterans totals $444 billion, according to a Mar 2011 report from the Congressional Research Service.