A new military base opened in Afghanistan has the works. It has everything it needs, except one thing: Troops. One official said he was “deeply troubled” over what may be a waste of millions of taxpayer dollars.
As a 64,000 square-foot headquarters building, the brand new structure features a giant operations center to seat hundreds as well as an impressive briefing theater.
Spacious offices are numerous, able to accommodate a staff of 1,500. And all can stay cool thanks to the vast, powerful air conditioning system.
Costing $34 million to build, the huge new structure was finished earlier this year in southwestern Afghanistan. But because of a plan for US troop to pull out of the country, it will never be used or occupied. The withdrawal may come even sooner than planned, too.
Military commanders in Afghanistan stated three years ago that the building was unnecessary, says Washington Post. Turns out, they were right and don’t plan to make use of it before full withdrawal happens.
Inspector General John Sopko wrote recently that construction of the new military base “should have been stopped,” in a letter to the Department of Defense. He was “deeply troubled” over the wasteful project that appeared to proceed and get funding despite numerous protests from military officials.
Sopko noted one military commander in Afghanistan who was against the new facility, in his letter. The commander stated that because of tapered withdrawal, the building will be left unprotected shortly after it is completed due to shrinking security forces. As such it may need to be leveled before all US forces leave.
British firm AMEC Earth and Environment was hired by the US military to begin building the $34 million facility in 2011, Voice of America reports.
The massive headquarters building isn’t the only shiny new facility that will never see it used as intended by US troops. A $45 million repair facility in Kandahar province is currently being used as temporary storage for equipment being sent out of Afghanistan.
Another $80 million was also spent trying to lease a large building, but was ultimately not used. After signing the lease, the military determined it was too strategically vulnerable.
As US troop withdrawal in Afghanistan draws nearer, military contractors are struggling to maintain profits. Word that this new military base that cost $34 million taxpayer dollars will never be used may seem to some, like Inspector General Sopko, to be a tragic waste.