Watchdog: Military’s new $34M Afghan facility won’t be used

“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,” he said.

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The 64,000-square-foot facility was constructed as a command headquarters in Helmand Province in order to support the surge there.

But it was designed for a military division that wasn’t deployed, and with U.S. troops now drawing down, there aren’t plans to begin using the new building, Sopko said. Instead, military officials expect to either demolish the never-occupied facility or hand it over to the Afghans, who may not have the capacity to sustain it.

“What the hell were they thinking?” a two-star Army general told The Washington Post, which first reported on Sopko’s findings. “There was never any justification to build something this fancy.”

Sopko said that the building was “impressive and well-constructed,” but it couldn’t be handed over to the Afghan government without major modifications because it was built to U.S. construction standards, rather than Afghan ones.

“In fact, it appears to be the best constructed building I have seen in my travels to Afghanistan,” he said. “Unfortunately, it is unused, unoccupied and presumably will never be used for its intended purpose.”