Global Independent Analytics

Pentagon May Have Wasted Millions On Afghan Villas For U.S. Officials

US taxpayers are funding Pentagon officials' high-end living

More than $150 million has been spent by the U.S. government on private housing an security for officials, reports Akbar Shahid Ahmed in his article at The Huffington Post.

It was revealed that U.S. officials who could have very well lived at the U.S. provided bases, instead used about $150 millions of taxpayers’ money on expensive accommodations and guarding provisions during basically ill-fated attempt of Pentagon to boost economy of Afghanistan.

Allegedly, "If employees had instead lived at [Pentagon] facilities in Afghanistan, where housing, security, and food service are routinely provided at little or no extra charge to [Pentagon] organizations, it appears the taxpayers would have saved tens of millions of dollars," Ahmed cites Inspector General John Sopko. It was reported, that not more than ten Pentagon staffers spent the aforementioned amount on housing, and in case they instead resorted to the Embassy of the U.S. in Kabul, the estimated cost of living would have equaled to less than $2 million.

Pentagon reported that the Task Force for Business and Stability Operations, that is, the housing program, has received more accusations in funds mismanagement than any other Pentagon setup since the program cost taxpayers more than $800 million in 6 years, from 2009 to 2014.

Task force specialists insist that such a great spending is based exclusively on assurance of the investors that military support is not that vital for the economy of Afghanistan. Pentagon has until December 11, 2015 to respond on Sopko’s request whether the research on cost effectiveness has been conducted and the results demonstrated the need of funneling more than 20% of the task force budget on private accommodation. Sopko also requested evidences of investors attracted with the help of such program.

The Department of Defense has previously been slammed for not responding to questions regarding the program although the special reading group has been established which is intended to check task force documents and deliver access to former officials. However, the measures have not led to more frankness from the Pentagon. Not until it was announced that Pentagon’s misconduct and lack of cooperation would be made public, the first director of the task forces agreed to assist in the investigation.

“Billions in U.S. spending on Afghanistan are at risk because of poor American and Afghan management and the country's continuing vulnerability to armed extremists loyal to the Taliban and the Islamic State group. President Barack Obama decided this year to keep 5,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond 2017” concludes Ahmed.

EXPERT OPINION

Joshua Tartakovsky

The Pentagon has until December 11 to respond, but has failed to provide an immediate response. One may wonder what kind of response we are going to get, considering the fact that this is not the first time the Department of Defense has engaged in wasteful spending of US taxpayer’s money. In November 2, 2015 Fox News reported that the Department of Defense spent $43,000,000 on a gas station which could have costed $500,000. It is likely that the money did not go to the building of the gas station but ended up with corrupt officials. Ash Carter should take personal responsibility for this.
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