A particularly ugly case of contractor fraud in the US occupation of Afghanistan has left two Afghan contractors facing charges of fraud and negligent homicide over their failure to complete jobs they were paid to do.
The situation is part of a $32 million US anti-IED scheme called the “culvert denial system.” In essence, the plan was to have contractors install grates over ditches running underneath roads to keep the Taliban from climbing under there and installing IEDs under the roads.
The government gave $1 million to the contractors in question to actually do the grate-installation, and never actually got around to it. Some were installed but incorrectly, while most were never installed at all.
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) issued a safety alert related to fraud in October, when the investigation began. The conclusion of that investigation confirms what was suspected, and the charges against the contractors suggest that if they had actually installed those grates, some fatal bombing may have been avoided.
The SIGAR is also focusing on the Pentagon’s contracting officers for not making sure the job was done, and urged the Pentagon to have better “quality control” oversight over contractors.
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