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US wasted at least $2.4bn in Afghanistan, watchdog says

US Army soldiers walk to their C-17 cargo plane for departure May 11, 2013 at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan [Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images]
US Army soldiers walk to their C-17 cargo plane for departure May 11, 2013 at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan [Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images]

Washington has wasted billions of dollars since 2008 on buildings and vehicles that were abandoned or destroyed in Afghanistan, a report by a US government watchdog revealed today.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) reported that about $2.4 billion in assets of the $7.8 billion "were unused or abandoned, had not been used for their intended purposes, had deteriorated, or were destroyed."

While more than $1.2 billion was being used as intended, the SIGAR said only $343.2 million worth of buildings and vehicles "were maintained in good condition."

"The fact that so many capital assets wound up not used, deteriorated, or abandoned should have been a major cause of concern for the agencies financing these projects," Special Inspector General John F. Sopko said in the report. "Nonetheless, the agencies continued with a 'business as usual' approach with their reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, resulting in at least $2.4 billion in U.S. taxpayer funds being wasted on capital assets."

Noting that the watchdog did not inspect all US-funded capital asset projects in Afghanistan, Sopko said the actual amount of waste is "almost certainly higher."

The US invaded Afghanistan in 2001.

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