- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
Hurt Locker: No proof U.S. life-saving anti-IED program ever implemented in Afghanistan
Question of the Day
The U.S. military in Afghanistan spent $32 million to prevent Improvised Explosive Device attacks after more than 600 troops were killed, but brass has no proof the pricey effort was effective — or even implemented.
A shocking investigation by the top U.S. watchdog in Afghanistan discovered the military doesn't know if the anti-IED devices are functioning or were even installed.
These "culvert denial systems" are supposed to safeguard U.S. troops and Afghan civilians from the explosive devises, but a report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said "it is unclear whether or not culvert denial systems are functioning or, in some cases, where even installed."
The IG already found two Afghan contractors who billed the U.S. government $1 million for the installation of 250 such devices, but then never completed the work or did it haphazardly.
There are at least 2,500 places where the prevention devices were supposed to be installed, the IG said, but a lack of documentation and oversight means no one's certain if they ever actually were.
"It is important to know where culvert denial systems have been installed and what condition they are in to prevent any further loss of life from the placement of IEDs in roadside culverts," the report said.
An estimated 600 U.S. troops have been killed, and almost 5,000 wounded from IED explosions in Afghanistan since 2001, according to data from the Pentagon and the think-tank Center for Strategic and International Studies.
"The loss of life because individuals were not doing their job is horrific and unacceptable,: said John Sopko, special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction. "This case shows so clearly that fraud can kill in Afghanistan. We will find out if contracting officers did not do their job and if that proves to be true and Americans have died, we will hold those individuals accountable."
IEDs are cheap and relatively inexpensive bombs to make and have become a favorite of terrorists. The Defense Department said the number of events involving IEDs in Afghanistan has almost doubled since 2009 – reaching 17,000 incidents.
Culvert denial systems are a range of devices used to deny terrorists access to culverts – pipes and tunnels used to channel water under roadways, and a favorite hiding spot for IEDs. The denial systems, from metal grates to more advanced devices, block entry to the pipes, but still allow water to flow. Prices to install the systems range from $800 to $6,500, the IG said.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Phillip Swarts is an investigative reporter for The Washington Times, covering fiscal waste, fraud and political ethics. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and previously worked as an investigative reporter for the Washington Guardian. Phillip can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Golden Hammer: Railroad board pays $1B in bogus disability benefit
- U.S. chemical sites vulnerable to terrorists despite millions spent on security: Congress
- Insurgent-allied businesses in Afghanistan eligible for U.S. taxpayer aid
- Ex-Gitmo detainee Moazzam Begg charged with terrorism
- Chicago shooting spree: 22 people shot in 12 hours
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Pentagon wants extra $19M to equip, train Ukrainian troops
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
- Houston mayor: Sorry that police put man's blind dog on road to die
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors