Afghanistan, Inc.: A CorpWatch Investigative Report (2006)

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Special to CorpWatch

Click to read "Easy money: the great aid scam."

Contractors in Afghanistan are making big money for bad work

A
highway that begins crumbling before it is finished. A school with a
collapsed roof. A clinic with faulty plumbing. A farmers' cooperative
that farmers can't use. Afghan police and military that, after training,
are incapable of providing the most basic security. And contractors
walking away with millions of dollars in aid money for the work. The
Bush Administration touts the reconstruction effort in Afghanistan as a
success story. Perhaps, in comparison to the violence-plagued efforts in
Iraq and the incompetence-riddled efforts on the American Gulf Coast,
everything is relative. A new report "Afghanistan, Inc.," issued by the
non-profit organization CorpWatch, details the bungled reconstruction
effort in Afghanistan.

Massive open-ended contracts have been
granted without competitive bidding or with limited competition to many
of the same politically connected corporations which are doing similar
work in Iraq: Kellogg, Brown & Root (a subsidiary of Halliburton),
DynCorp, Blackwater, The Louis Berger Group, The Rendon Group and many
more. Engineers, consultants, and mercenaries make as much as $1,000 a
day, while the Afghans they employ make $5 per day.

These
companies are pocketing millions, and leaving behind a people
increasingly frustrated and angry with the results.

Instead of
reprimanding these contractors for their poor work, USAID announced a
new contract totalling $1.4 billion awarded to the joint venture of The
Louis Berger Group, Inc. and Black & Veatch Special Projects Corp.
on September 22.

"It's a shame that after the disasterous
performance of Louis Berger in
Afghanistan in the last five years, the company has been awarded with
such a large sum of money. It's telling that the punishment for wasting
millions of taxpayers' money can get you millions more from our
government," Nawa said of the new contract.

Fariba Nawa, an
Afghan-American who returned to her native country to examine the
progress of reconstruction, uncovers some examples of where the money
has (and hasn't) gone, how the system of international aid works (and
doesn't), and what it is really like in the villages and cities where
outsiders are rebuilding the war-torn countryside.

In
Afghanistan, Inc., you'll get an inside look at a system gone out of
control, with little accountability and plenty of opportunity for graft
and abuse. It isn't a story you want to read; it's a story you must
read.

CorpWatch investigates and exposes corporate violations of
human rights, environmental crimes, fraud and corruption around the
world. Through its independent media work, CorpWatch fosters global
justice, accountability and democratic control of corporations.

Click
here
to download the complete report.

An HTML text version
of the report is also available.

Click here
to see the USAID press release for the $1.4 billion contract awarded to
the joint venture of The Louis Berger Group, Inc. and Black & Veatch
Special Projects Corp on Septemeber 22, 2006.

The report is
also now available in Dari and Pashto.

AMP Section Name:War & Disaster Profiteering
  • 21 Reconstruction
  • 106 Money & Politics
  • 185 Corruption
  • 187 Privatization
  • 208 Regulation