FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 10, 2018
Contact: Press@paul.senate.gov, 202-224-4343
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Wednesday, U.S. Senator Rand Paul, chairman of the Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management (FSO) Subcommittee for the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), held a hearing entitled, “Afghanistan in Review: Oversight of U.S. Spending in Afghanistan.”
“I’ve made it no secret I think we should come home. I think we went in for the right reasons, but we stayed too long. It isn’t our job to build countries, and frankly, I think we do a poor job of it. If you talk to our soldiers, I think they’ll tell you that’s not why they enlisted,” Dr. Paul said in his opening statement.
Dr. Paul’s subcommittee first heard testimony from John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), regarding waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars, as well as from Laurel Miller, Senior Political Scientist at the RAND Corporation, concerning U.S. assistance to Afghanistan.
“We have seen much good work done, but we have also reported on far too many instances of poor planning, sloppy execution, theft, corruption, and a lack of accountability,” Special IG Sopko testified. “Some of the most egregious examples SIGAR has identified include DoD’s purchase of nearly a half-billion dollars’ worth of second-hand airplanes from Italy that were unusable and later sold as scrap; the construction of an Afghan security forces training facility that literally melted in the rain; numerous schools, clinics, roads, and other infrastructure built dangerously unsound and with little if any concern for the costs of supplying and sustaining them; and a failed $8.7 billion counter-narcotics effort in a country where poppy cultivation increased by 63% last year alone.”
In April, Dr. Paul’s Federal Spending Oversight Subcommittee directly conducted on-the-ground oversight of U.S. spending in Afghanistan, a mission that consisted of more than a dozen meetings and four off-site visits over the course of two and a half days in the country.
Gregory McNeill, Majority Staff Director for the FSO subcommittee, and Sergio Gor, Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications for Dr. Paul, reported to the subcommittee on their findings, including wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars, lack of oversight on projects, and rampant corruption in the country.
Their testimony featured examples such as the failed Kabul Marriott hotel, which cost taxpayers nearly $60 million and sits unfinished and abandoned, along with an adjacent apartment building that cost nearly $30 million more. Both now represent a security threat to U.S. Embassy personnel.
They also found brand-new, unused electrical equipment that was set to be destroyed in an industrial shredder, and they told the subcommittee about a $750 million electrification project that placed towers on land we don’t own without getting consent, and the $210 million Afghanistan Ministry of the Interior, which features issues such as non-functioning air conditioners and an unconnected fire sprinkler system.