When U.S. defense department auditors arrived at the large new Imam Sahib Border Police Company headquarters in Afghanistan’s Kunduz province last fall, they discovered just a dozen men, only half of them in uniform, and two-thirds of the compound’s green masonry buildings unoccupied and apparently empty.
The facility, completed two months earlier at a cost to the United States of $7.3 million, was designed to provide a base for 175 border police to help provide security along Afghanistan’s rugged frontier with Tajikistan, an infiltration route for militants and perhaps the most important transit corridor for Afghan heroin headed to Russia.
But according to the latest report by John F. Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, inspectors found a nearly deserted compound. All but three of the 12 buildings were locked, and no one had keys. The inspectors wrote that they were forced to judge construction quality by peering through the windows.
The findings echoed those in a July 2012 inspection of four other Afghan Border Police facilities in Nangarhar Province, bordering Pakistan, where many buildings were empty or used for something other than what they were designed for – one structure housing a well doubled as a chicken coop. “It is difficult to consider a project as wanted and needed if its intended recipients are not using it or are using it for an unplanned purpose,” the report notes.