Your Tax Dollars, Creating Jobs (in Afghanistan)

The United States government spent over $42,000 per Afghan to create 500 jobs over there.

And that’s the good news. The ever-cheerful Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR; we have been paying to rebuild Afghanistan for the past 15 years with no end in sight) just released their inspection report on the State Department/USAID-funded Bagrami Industrial Park.

The inspection notes:

  • USAID awarded a $10 million contract to Technologists, for the development of the industrial park. After modifications, the contract’s value increased to $21.1 million. So sorta more than double what it was supposed to cost you, the taxpayer.
  • As a result of some missing documents, including the record of final payment, USAID could not say when Bagrami Industrial Park was “completed” or when the park was transferred to the Afghans.
  • The contractor, despite doubling the cost, did not include adequate water and sewer systems. So, the Instead, the Afghan Ministry of Finance had to use additional U.S. funds to buy water from a nearby textile factory.
  • Because of the lack of proper sewage systems, the park’s remaining factories release industrial contaminants into the streets. This creates ongoing health risks to workers as well as to the local residents in the surrounding neighborhood.
  • In 2011 the park employed 2,200 people, still short of its 3,000 employee goal. By 2015 the number of employees had decreased to about 700. That dropped in June 2016 to about 500 workers.

Rebuttal: On its website, contractor Technologists states the Bagrami Industrial Park “is professionally managed and offers investors clear land titles, perimeter security and entry-control points, secure parking, electrical power, clean water, and wastewater removal [and] the park has already attracted almost $50 million in investments and has created more than 30,000 direct and indirect jobs.”


No details are available on the cost of the Bagrami sign above.

Peter Van Buren blew the whistle on State Department waste and mismanagement during Iraqi reconstruction in his first book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. His latest book is Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99 Percent. Reprinted from the his blog with permission.

2 thoughts on “Your Tax Dollars, Creating Jobs (in Afghanistan)”

  1. And what about many, many factories paid for by US taxpayers to produce US military products in other countries. These are just a few examples, just not even scratching the surface. A factory producing F-16 in Turkey, and a new one being contracted in India. Also, a factory of F-35 engines being produced in Turkey, and a rocket Space-x satellite launch produced in Israel. This is not private money, as Space-x is one of the companies receiving federal funds from the “restructured” NASA.
    Would not it be much nicer to have these factories in the US, right in the middle of the devastated mid-west, where industrial production has been gutted. So that those “deplorables” can receive a fraction of the what was so deplorably taken from them. And put them into worse then deplorable condition. And what about their kids? Would not they have a chance to dream of engineering, once they have any exposure to the factory and the marvelous engines being built there? Or dream of factory robotics, factory management, or facilities? What is it they have to dream today? To get a college degree, work in Wall Mart, pay off their student debts with their low salaries, and become eventually a customer in the third largest employer in the US — health care industry. Now, that is deplorable.

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