The U.S. spent nearly $500,000 on an Afghan police training center that began "melting" within four months, according to a watchdog report released Tuesday.
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said in its report that the police training center's dry fire range (DFR) commissioned by the U.S. government began to disintegrate within four months of its completion in 2012.
The report said that the Afghan contractor, Qesmatullah Nasrat Construction Company, failed to adhere to contractual requirements and used substandard construction materials, which led to the buildings "melting" away.
The report also said the construction was "plagued" due to "poor oversight" by U.S. officials.
The dry firing range (DFR) is designed to replicate a typical Afghan village and is used to conduct training exercises for police without live ammunition.
This DRF was built in 2012 under the supervision of a contracting center run by the U.S. Central Command's Joint Theater Support Contracting Command.
SIGAR found that water penetrated through the walls of the range's building within four months of its completion, causing its walls to disintegrate.
The U.S. military's contracting center accepted substandard construction and failed to hold the contractor accountable for their work, the report said.
"Due to the fact that these deficiencies were not corrected, the range's safety and its long-term sustainability were compromised," the report said.
Afghan authorities were forced to demolish the range and rebuild it with funds from Afghanistan's Ministry of Interior.
SIGAR called the project "an embarrassment" and a "waste of taxpayers' money."
"Although this project may have been well intentioned, the fact that the Afghans had to demolish and rebuild the DFR is not only an embarrassment, but, more significantly, a waste of U.S. taxpayers' money," the report concluded.
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction recommended that U.S. Central Command and other agencies involved determine the extent to which the Afghan contractor used unauthorized building materials and to recoup those funds. It also wants the agencies to decide what disciplinary action should be taken against the contracting officials for the poor oversight.
Responding to the report, the U.S. Central Command's Joint Theater Support Contracting Command said it planned to take action based on SIGAR's recommendations.
Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at email@example.com.
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