Yet Another Afghanistan Report Shows U.S. Flushing Money Away

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One of the worst things about these Afghanistan reports is the part where the authors document billions of our tax dollars flowing to contractors that might be crooked, don’t finish the job, payoff the Taliban, and generally dump money into the black hole that is Afghanistan.

The new report from Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations is yet another such report. It says that USAID, for example, paid 283 contractors nearly $4 billion from 2007 to 2009. Louis Berger International and Development Alternatives Inc. got $1 billion of that money. The State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement paid another $2.3 billion to four contractors, with DynCorp International getting more than 80 percent of that money. The report says of Louis Berger that “LBG recently admitted to submitting ‘false, fictitious, and fraudulent overhead rates for indirect costs . . . [resulting] in over- payments by the [U.S.] government in excess of $10 million’ from 1999 to 2007.”

Depressingly, the report adds the following:

Poor security conditions and a lack of contracting officers overseeing contactor performance could deter site visits to confirm whether the project was properly built, or even built at all. Afghanistan is littered with abandoned or half-built structures.

Multiple reports have raised concerns about the lack of robust contractor oversight. The GAO finds ‘‘oversight inadequate at times, thus raising questions about the agencies’ ability to ensure accountability for multibillion dollar investments.’’ The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) warns that ‘‘the large U.S. investment in Afghanistan remains at significant risk of being wasted or subject to fraud and abuse.’’The bi- partisan Congressional Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan is particularly critical of overall U.S. Government assistance, noting that ‘‘tens of billions of taxpayers’ dollars have failed to achieve their intended use in Iraq and Afghanistan.’’