Share

Watchdog: Follow the Money

The U.S. has spent $626 million on embassy expansion it may not need in this country

By |
Watchdog,OMB,Afghanistan,Kelly Cohen,State Department,Follow the Money,Foreign Policy

Question: What is two years behind schedule and more than $148 million overpriced?

Answer: The U.S. embassy that has been under construction since 2002 in Kabul, Afghanistan's capital and largest city.

The embassy re-opened 12 years ago and has received $626 million from the State Department to build more housing and office facilities on the embassy compound.

But in the past four years, "construction requirements have changed, costs have increased, and schedules have been extended," according to a new Government Accountability Office report.

The 24-percent increase in construction costs brings the total to $774 million as of May, GAO reports.

The overall project schedule has also been extended. The predicted completion date is now July 2016 — two years later than originally planned, GAO said.

Several issues remain unresolved on the embassy project, "which may further affect requirements, cost and schedule," GAO said.

Issues include an increase in embassy staffing and thus the need for more space and delays in shipping routes through Pakistan, among others, GAO found.

The embassy may also eventually be rendered useless, as the American military presence in Afghanistan winds down, GAO found.

"It is difficult to determine whether current projects and existing facilities will meet future embassy needs," the report said.

 
View article comments Leave a comment
Author:

Kelly Cohen

Staff Writer
The Washington Examiner

More from washingtonexaminer.com