From September 2017 to September 2020, the Pentagon failed to charge coalition partners in Afghanistan for the use of US rotary-wing aircraft in the country, according to a new report from the Defense Department’s Inspector General.
Over those three years, the US spent $773 million to transport US and other coalition forces around Afghanistan. Since the military failed to keep track of the flights, the US has no way of knowing how much coalition partners owe of the $773 million.
The US has two types of coalition partners in the country when it comes to transportation. One group, known as “Lift and Sustain Coalition partners,” consists of 21 countries whose transportation costs are covered by the US military. The other group, known as “Pay-to-Play Coalition partners,” are supposed to reimburse the US for flights around Afghanistan.
The report says US Forces in Afghanistan (USFOR-A) “did not receive or track Coalition partner flight usage data, the exact cost of reimbursable air transportation services provided to Pay-to-Play Coalition partners cannot be determined.”
“Unless USFOR-A personnel obtain flight usage data, determine the rate per person, and establish an agreement with Coalition partners before services are provided, the DoD will not be able to seek reimbursement for future air transportation services provided in Afghanistan,” the report reads.
The Pay-to-Pay countries are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.
The failure to collect transportation fees is just a drop in the bucket compared to the exorbitant amount of waste that is found through reports by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). In one of SIGAR’s latest reports, the government watchdog found that out of $7.8 billion allocated by the US for buildings and vehicles in Afghanistan since 2008, only $343.2 million was spent on buildings and vehicles that were “maintained in good condition.”