News / USA

More Waste Uncovered at US Base in Afghanistan

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron gives a July 4 address to British and U.S. troops at the Camp Leatherneck military base in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on July 4, 2011.Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron gives a July 4 address to British and U.S. troops at the Camp Leatherneck military base in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on July 4, 2011.
x
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron gives a July 4 address to British and U.S. troops at the Camp Leatherneck military base in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on July 4, 2011.
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron gives a July 4 address to British and U.S. troops at the Camp Leatherneck military base in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on July 4, 2011.
VOA News
U.S. congressional inspectors have highlighted a second case of waste at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan in as many days, saying an $11 million trash incineration system has been underutilized, leaving most refuse to be burned in open-air pits.

The Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said Thursday its investigators recently went to Camp Leatherneck in the southern province of Helmand and found that only two of its four solid-waste incinerators were in operation.

It said the two 12-ton machines were "not being used to full capacity," while the two larger 24-ton incinerators were not in use at all because a contract for their operation and maintenance had not been awarded.

Special Inspector General John Sopko raised the issue in a letter addressed to U.S. Central Command chief General Lloyd Austin and released to the media. Sopko said the underutilization of the incinerators has resulted in the base disposing of waste in open air burn pits, risking the health of its 13,500 military and civilian residents.

He said inhaling toxic smoke from the daily burning of solid waste increases the risk of longterm health problems such as reduced lung function, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The Special Inspector General also said the base's continued use of burn pits since it opened five years ago violates U.S. government guidelines and military regulations which call for such disposal methods to be temporary.

Sopko called on U.S. military leaders to stop the use of the burn pits "as quickly as possible" and approve the operation of the four incinerators at full capacity.

SIGAR informed the media of another problem at Camp Leatherneck on Wednesday, saying the U.S. military spent $34 million to build a new complex in the base but is unlikely to ever use it. In a letter sent to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and U.S. military leaders, Sopko said he believes the facility is a "potentially troubling example of waste."

  • $34 million unused command & control center - exterior view (SIGAR)
  • $34 million unused command & control center - tactical operations center (SIGAR)
  • $34 million unused command & control center - unopened boxes and unused chairs (SIGAR)
  • $34 million unused command & control center - office furniture (SIGAR)
  • $34 million unused command & control center - office furniture (SIGAR)
  • $34 million unused command & control center - heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (SIGAR)
  • $34 million unused command & control center - heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (SIGAR)

The U.S. military hired British firm AMEC Earth and Environment to start building the complex in 2011, and intended to use it as a command headquarters for Afghanistan's desolate south. But the Special Inspector General said military officials recently told him it will not be occupied.

The 6,000 square-meter facility consists mostly of a large windowless building with spacious offices and expensive heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems for up to 1,500 staff. Sopko said some U.S. commanders in Helmand objected to plans for the building in 2010, saying there was no need for it.

He said he is "deeply troubled" that the military may have spent taxpayer funds on a project that "should have been stopped." Defense Department spokesman George Little said Wednesday that Sopko's letter is under review.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More