U.S. Abandons $80 Million Consulate in Afghanistan as Too Dangerous

Tuesday, May 08, 2012
(photo: Skeptical Bureaucrat)
Originally scheduled to open a new $80 million consulate last month in northern Afghanistan, the State Department has now abandoned its plans after failing to heed warnings early on about the project.
 
The ill-fated plan was conceived three years ago after Richard Holbrooke was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Holbrooke wanted an interim consulate in Mazar-e Sharif within 60 days to demonstrate to the local Tajik and Uzbek minorities that dominate the north that the U.S. cared about them and was committed to maintaining a long-term presence in Afghanistan to help secure peace.
 
But the site chosen for the consulate, which included a hotel, suffered from serious flaws, which were pointed out to State Department leaders. Construction experts said the building would be vulnerable to car-bomb attacks as well as other potential terrorist actions, and yet, the department signed a 10-year lease while cutting corners on building-safety procedures.
 
A series of violent incidents in Mazar-e Sharif raised serious concerns among State Department officials. In April 2011, a mob, engaged by the burning of a copy of the Koran by preacher Terry Jones in Florida, attacked the United Nations compound in the Afghan city, killing seven foreigners. In December four people were killed by a bombing at the Blue Mosque, barely 200 yards from the proposed consulate.
 
Eventually, officials realized the project could not go through as planned and quietly pulled the plug, according to an internal memo obtained by The Washington Post.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechisnky
 
To Learn More:
Stop the War in Afghanistan…Just Joking (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

U.S. to Spend $511 Million on Embassy in Afghanistan (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov) 

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