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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact 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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs