Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

IG Report – Millions Wasted on Communication Towers in Afghanistan

Jessica Murphy – POGO: “According to a new report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the State Department paid $6.5 million for six communication towers that were never used as intended. This high cost exceeded the State Department’s initial recommended limit of $2 million per contract. In 2010, the State Department began constructing a network of communication towers in Afghanistan. According to the State Department, the main objective of the towers project was “to expand and enhance media provider coverage and telecommunication services to the civilian Afghan populations in underserved and strategically important Helmand, Kandahar, Ghazni, and Paktika provinces via television, radio, and telephonic mediums.” Since then, the towers have been built, but the project has not served its original purpose. The State Department reported to SIGAR that once it was clear the towers could not fulfill their purpose, “the Department considered alternatives but determined that there was no available foreign assistance or other State Department use for the towers.” Eventually, the Strategic Communication Unit in the Public Affairs Section found a potential use for the towers whereby “the Department of Defense (DoD) would provide cell and internet service to troops in the vicinity with the hope that it would eventually reach the local population.” Two such towers have been transferred to the DoD (including one that had already been built by the Department of State as part of a previous project) and the remaining five towers are in the process of being put up for auction to commercial entities.”

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.