US Has Been Building Afghan Dam Since 1950s

Inspector general: Great Pyramid of Giza was erected faster
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 30, 2013 9:43 AM CDT
US Has Been Building Afghan Dam Since 1950s
In this Jan. 11, 2007, file photo, a shadow of a British Royal Air Force Chinook helicopter is seen on the Kajaki Dam reservoir.   (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

The US started construction on Afghanistan's Kajaki dam in the early 1950s—and it's still not done. "After using multiple contractors and sub­contractors, spending tens of millions of dollars, and losing scores of US and coalition lives, the work is still not complete," writes the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction in a report out today. And here's his best line, per USA Today: "The ancient Egyptians took less time—about 20 to 25 years—to complete the Great Pyramid at Giza."

The remote dam in the mountains above the Helmand valley, which holds a small combat outpost where Marines and Afghan soldiers serve, still needs $75 million worth of work (the US has spent that much on it since 2004), and the US is planning to hand it over to the Afghans to finish as part of the withdrawal process. The special inspector general's office isn't sure Afghanistan can manage it—even though, as Stars and Stripes reports, the US is supplying Afghanistan’s national utility with cash for the final phase, which will see a third turbine installed. That turbine installation effort has been ongoing since 2001, and Stars and Stripes notes that "it is often pointed to as one of the signature failures of America's aid program in Afghanistan." (More Afghanistan stories.)

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