This blog aims to highlight issues and information that don't always make it into the mainstream media. Recognising that comment is cheap, wherever possible it will link you directly to documents and sources that are mentioned in the text.
I realised some time ago that it was impossible to write about Afghanistan without writing about Pakistan and other neighbouring countries. With that in mind, the reader will come across articles that, while not specifically about Afghanistan, in some way shed light on the conflict.
A report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) looks into the problems at Camp Pamir, built by DynCorp for the Afghan Army. It appears to be a classic example of the gravy train principle, where a major contractor builds a load of shoddy facilities that begin to fall apart, but walks away from responsibility having been paid in full for its rubbish work.
Loo with a view
In 2010 SIGAR reported that the newly-built facilities at Camp Pamir in Kunduz in northern Afghanistan were at risk of structural failure because of poor site grading and serious soil stability issues. However, in December 2011 the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), which had let the $72 million contract to DynCorp, released the company from further liability and warranty obligations. In doing so, the USACE did not comply with specific regulations that require an independent audit. As a result the Defense Department is now apparently responsible for sorting out the mess. Repair costs are estimated at $2 million.
This one cracked me up
SIGAR has asked the commanding officer of USACE to justify the cost of further repairs and submit the DynCorp settlement to an appropriate audit agency for review. They have also asked the CO to explain in writing why the settlement was determined to be fair and reasonable.