7/14/16 Government Work


“Good enough for government work” is meant to be an insult. It applies to reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan.

Here’s what’s happening behind the headlines.

At the center of the story is the U.S. Agency for International Development.  It spent about a quarter of a billion dollars on around 600 health facilities in Afghanistan.  It’s part of the ongoing $100 billion nation-building effort in the war-torn country.

Most people would likely agree there are positive benefits to this.  These range from improving Afghan lives to creating good will.

Seventy-nine of these health facilities were to have been built in the Badakhshan province in northeastern Afghanistan.  The U.S. Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction attempted to inspect them.  The IG was unable to travel to 49 facilities due to security considerations.

29 were visited. The 30th couldn’t be found.

Some didn’t have electricity or drinking water.

Twelve facilities were at least 6 miles away from approved locations.  One was more than 400 miles away.

U.S. AID provided GPS-coordinates for all 79 facilities.  According to this data, three were built in the wrong province.  Five were built in other countries.  Three in Tajikistan and two in Pakistan.

Is the data wrong? Were facilities built in the wrong locations? Were there shenanigans with taxpayer money?

Whatever the answer, it’s good enough for government work.

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