The U.S. government has spent $17 billion on wasted projects and unused resources in Afghanistan, a ProPublica investigation has found. The decisions that led to wasting billions of dollars in taxpayer money on useless projects did not lead to any consequences for the officials in the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development or the Department of Defense who signed off on them.
ProPublica obtained 235 audits, special projects and inspection reports from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction and found 77 projects which had failed to serve their purpose in the Afghanistan reconstruction, significantly blown their budgets, or, in many cases, both. They grouped these projects into four categories, created a searchable database for the projects, and paired it with an accompanying database to illustrate where the $17 billion could have been better spent.
Among the failed projects: a government purchase of 20 refurbished cargo planes to be used for the Afghan Air Force, which the government spent $486 million to purchase. The planes did not come with spare parts and were extremely unsafe to fly. Ultimately, 16 of the planes were sold as scrap metal for a sum of $32,000.