Can you say Corruption? A $43 Million Gas Station in Afghanistan

By Faye Higbee

SIGAR (Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction) says that the Department of Defense was a little defensive about a $43 Million gas station constructed in  Afghanistan.

gas station in afghanistan

Sheberghan gas station in Afghanistan

Not that it surprises anyone that they were not cooperative. The gas station should have cost just $500,000. But somehow the price gained wings and flew over the top.

Fox News reported,

In a report released Monday, SIGAR detailed how TFBSO’s Downstream Gas Utilization Project set out to build a compressed natural gas (CNG) filling station in the Afghan city of Sheberghan in 2011. The U.S. Geological Survey found in 2006 that northern Afghanistan is rich in natural gas reserves, and the Task Force sought to make the compressed natural gas commercially viable by constructing the facility — and more broadly, helping to reduce the war-torn country’s dependence on costly imported gas.

The Task Force struck a contract with Central Asian Engineering, which received just under $3 million from the U.S. government to construct the Sheberghan gas station.

 Trick or Treat to the U.S. Taxpayers

It took $12.3 million just for direct costs and $30 million in overhead. Overhead? What does that mean? And SIGAR has stated they can’t even tell if the gas station is still functional…Trick or Treat!

How many Afghan officials or Taliban did they have to pay off to build it? Why is the DOD refusing to cooperate?

The problem lies with the $800 Million TFBSO (heavy on the BS part), or the Task Force for Stability and Business Operations. The program was shut down in March 2015. And the DOD claims it knows nothing about the program. The program has disappeared like “Pixie Dust” as the watchdog organization put it.

“I have never in my lifetime seen the Department of Defense or any government agency clam up and claim they don’t know anything about a program… Who’s in charge? Why won’t they talk? We have received more allegations about this program than we have received about any other program in Afghanistan.”  John Sopko, a former prosecutor appointed to watch over Afghanistan spending

Sopko says that his office has received numerous reports of criminal activity by TFBSO from former employees and “current and former uniformed officers who worked over there, other agencies and contractors.” There you have it- corruption and taxpayer money wasted.