WASHINGTON, June 20 (Sputnik) – The US government has spent at least $249 million over the past dozen years on an Afghan road project that is only 15 percent complete and more money is expected to be wasted going forward, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said in a new report on Wednesday.
“A lack of security, indeed insurgent control, along the majority of the 233-kilometer stretch was a major factor that resulted in a waste of between $249 million and $283 million over a 12-year period,” the report said.
Since the start of the road project at least 19 workers have been abducted and one was killed, the report noted.
The report said the construction of the 233-kilometer section of the Afghan Ring Road from Qeysar to Laman utilizing Asian Development Bank (ADB) grants was funded by the United States and other ADB members.
Between 2005 and 2017, the ADB committed $721 million across five separate grants to the Afghan government to complete the road section, the report explained.
However, as of September 2017, only 15 percent of the project was completed.
Meanwhile, the ADB and the Afghan Ministry of Public Works had spent $249 million on the road construction, the report said.
SIGAR listed the security challenges, poor contractor performance and a lack of capacity within the Afghan ministry to manage large construction contracts as reasons for the project’s failure.
“While we hope for success – for the Afghan people that the project may ultimately benefit and for the US taxpayers whose money is being used, in part, to fund the effort – we are left without any indication that the circumstances have improved sufficiently to warrant a high degree of confidence that the project will be completed, that more money will not be wasted, or that more security incidents will not occur,” the report concluded.
The Ring Road is intended to be a continuous highway that connects Afghanistan’s four major cities – Kabul, Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif and Kandahar.