According to a Pentagon watchdog report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the U.S. military shelled out $60 million on a power grid project in Afghanistan in 2013, and it doesn’t even work properly.
In addition to being not operational, the report states that the power line project may be structurally unsound and unsafe, putting nearby residents at risk. “Since the Afghan government has not acquired any privately held land, Afghans still reside, in some instances, directly under transmission lines,” the report states, explaining that the contract had required that the path be cleared for construction.
Mismanagement by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is deemed to be at fault in the disastrous project, which was supposed to provide more electricity to the Afghan people and help stabilize the country.
The Washington Examiner reported:
In 2013, the U.S. awarded a $116 million contract to an Afghan company to design and build a high-voltage power system for areas in northeast Afghanistan, SIGAR reported.
The company was required under the contract to clear a path for the power line, and the Afghanistan government had agreed to acquire private land around the project, but SIGAR said neither task has been completed.
“This clearance consists of removing and disposing of trees and other vegetation, houses, barns, cattle sheds, and other structures, within about 41 feet of the center of the transmission lines,” according to the watchdog report. “However, SIGAR found that residents are still living and farming land directly under the … transmission towers and lines.”
The privately held land accounts for about 68 percent of the land needed for the power project, it found.
The U.S. military contract also did not require the Afghan company to permanently connect the lines to a power source. In March 2017, the company finally submitted a proposal for a temporary electrical connection to a nearby substation, SIGAR reported.