Inspector General Reveals Staggering Waste in Afghan War

Billions Spent on Never-Used Gear

A new round of comments from Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John Sopko has revealed Pentagon waste was even more staggering than previously imagined, with billions likely spent on war materiel that was not only never used, but never even sent to Afghanistan.

We see “likely” not so much because there’s a serious doubt, but because the Pentagon simply didn’t keep records of a lot of what they bought, so its difficult to prove which war or other adventure it was wasted on.

“It’s like you gave your credit card to your teenage daughter or son and then you just never looked at the bills,” noted Sopko, details some of the most inexplicable wastes, including $3 million spent on inflatable boats which were never even sent to landlocked Afghanistan. The boats, Sopko said, are likely to be scrapped or sold for pennies on the dollar.

The Pentagon defended the never-used boats, insisting they seemed like a good idea at the time of their purchase, and that the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) allowed them to do whatever they want with the boats. They went on touting their unspecified “positive” impact on Afghanistan.

But the boats aren’t unique, as Sopko detailed myriad other examples, including $600 million worth of C-27 aircraft that have never been used, and a $34 million command center in Helmand Province that is “the best constructed building I’ve seen in Afghanistan,” but will probably be torn down soon because the Afghans can’t use it.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.