More U.S. Money to Burn in Afghanistan, This Time Millions on Faulty Incinerators

Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Rafaat Ludin, president and CEO of International Home Finance & Development

If it’s not aircraft barely flown before heading to the scrapheap, it’s faulty incinerators causing millions of dollars to go up in smoke in Afghanistan.


Last week, it was reported that the American military wasted nearly half a billion dollars on planes purchased for Afghanistan’s air force after officials realized the aircraft couldn’t handle the climate, among other problems.


Now, it’s come out that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spent $5.4 million on incinerators that never will be used.


The equipment, manufactured and supplied by International Home Finance & Development, was purchased so that soldiers at Forward Operating Base Sharana in Paktika Province could safely dispose of their solid waste. But the incinerators’ bad wiring—which wasn’t checked by the Corps of Engineers—left them useless.


That, coupled with construction delays, forced base personnel to use open-air burn pits to get rid of the waste. Such pits have caused health problems for thousands of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.


The contractor lined up to operate the incinerators, Fluor, quoted a cost of $1 million to put the equipment in working condition.


The Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction , which exposed this latest occurrence of government waste in a new report (pdf), has recommended that the Corps of Engineers investigate the mistake and possibly discipline contracting officers.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Army Engineers Spent $5.4 Million on Unusable Incinerators in Afghanistan (by Charles S. Clark, Government Executive)

Military Wasted Money on Afghan Incinerators (by Ray Locker, USA Today)

Forward Operating Base Sharana: Poor Planning and Construction Resulted in $5.4 Million Spent for Inoperable Incinerators and Continued Use of Open-Air Burn Pits (Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction) (pdf)

U.S. to Destroy a Half-Billion Dollars’ Worth of Unused Aircraft in Afghanistan (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)                        

U.S.-Led Military Unit in Afghanistan Lost $230 Million in Spare Parts, Then Spent $138 Million for More (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

U.S. Military Builds $34-Million High-Tech Operations Complex in Afghanistan…and Will Never Use It (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Danny Biederman, AllGov)


Rafaat Ludin 9 years ago
It is very easy to put the blame on a small contractor when the actual culprit is the military and large sized contractors such as Fluor. The system was completed with delays because a) the area is a high intensity war zone, b) Pakistan had blocked shipments to Afghanistan due to political problems with the US government, and c) USACE employees delayed our installation due to unreasonable expectations to find two 200 ton cranes to lift the incinerators that we did not need and did not exist in Afghanistan. At the end the project was tested, commissioned and approved for delivery. However, soon after delivery, the US government decided to close that base and hence render the system useless. So, why is the blame being pushed to the contractor?

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