The U.S. spent $3 million on boats for landlocked Afghanistan
The United States spent more than $3 million on eight patrol boats for the Afghan police, according to an internal audit released Thursday. That sentence is surprising for a few reasons:
- Afghanistan is landlocked.
- Not a single boat has arrived in Afghanistan, even though the purchase was made in 2010.
- That works out to be more than $375,000 per boat. Similar boats in the United States are typically sold for about $50,000.
According to the report from the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the boats were meant to be used to patrol the Amu Darya River running between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. They were bought to move government supplies and “to deter smuggling and illegal entry into Afghanistan,” according to Gen. Harold Greene.
But nine months after the boats were purchased, U.S. and NATO forces decided that the boats wouldn’t be necessary after all. By then, though, it was too late. The U.S. government had already spent $3 million on the boats. Nearly four years later, they are still sitting in storage at a Virginia naval base.
It remains a mystery why the boats were deemed unnecessary so soon after they were bought.