From The Washington Times:

The same Defense Department office that spent $43 million on a gas station in Afghanistan also spent 20 percent of the rest of its budget to house workers and visitors at luxurious private villas, rather than have them stay on military bases for free to save “tens of millions of dollars,” investigators have concluded.

The Task Force for Business and Stability Operations defended the villas as a way to entice investors into the fragile country, and said they were needed to prove that foreigners could live and operate in Afghanistan without being dependent on the U.S. military.

But the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said in a letter released Thursday that the task force was unable to show a return on the $150 million it spent on villas in Kabul, Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif and Jalalabad.

“If TFBSO employees had instead lived at DOD facilities in Afghanistan, where housing, security, and food service are routinely provided at little or no extra charge to DOD organizations, it appears the taxpayers would have saved tens of millions of dollars,” Inspector General John F. Sopko said in a letter to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.

The villas are the latest black mark for the task force, which spent $800 million before being shuttered by the Pentagon, but which is now facing a series of inquiries, including criminal probes.

Mr. Sopko last month reported that the task force spent $43 million on a natural gas fueling station intended to prove the country could sustain a market…

Continue Reading