A U.S. government official says the Pentagon spent millions of dollars building a military base in Afghanistan that to this date remains unused, unoccupied and unwanted.
John Sopko, the Special Inspector General For Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), charged with preventing and detecting waste, sent a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel July 8 stating that $34 million of taxpayer funds spent on the Marines' Regional Command-Southwest (RC-SW) Command and Control Facility should have been stopped.
The 64,000-square-foot building in Helmand province was originally planned to serve as a command headquarters during the surge, yet despite a strategic drawdown in military operations, the facility was still built. Sopko was told that the base was designed for a military division that was never deployed and, subsequently, a decision was made not to construct the facility.
"It appears that military commanders in Afghanistan determined as early as May 2010 that there was no need for the facility, yet the military still moved ahead with the construction project and continued to purchase equipment and make various improvements to the building in early 2013.
U.S. military officials told Sopko they expect that the building will be either demolished or turned over to the Afghan government as American military presence in Afghanistan declines and Camp Leatherneck is reduced in size.
Sopko's letter goes on to ask Hagel, "Is there a process for terminating approved projects after Congress provides funding for them? If so, why did the military fail to stop this project?"
SIGAR posted an online photo gallery, titled "$34 Million Unused Command & Control Center," using the Flickr service:
Malik Singleton covers manufacturing and other economic news. His previous roles were with City Limits, TIME.com, Black Enterprise and PCMag.com. He is an adjunct at CUNY's...