• Today’s Afghan Reconstruction Folly: $43 Million Compressed Natural Gas Station

    June 10, 2015

    Tags: ,
    Posted in: Afghanistan, Iraq


    Ho ho, ho, this one has all the hallmarks of the amazing waste and stupidity I enjoyed while participating in the reconstruction of Iraq, documented in my book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People.

    The Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) released with a straight face its inquiry into U.S. government’s “Downstream Gas Utilization Project” in Afghanistan, the sum total accomplishment of which was the erection of a single compressed natural gas (CNG) station at a cost of nearly $43 million to the taxpayers.

    Here’s why this was such a hallmark waste:

    — The limited ability to transport CNG to the location of the single station in the Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif limits the practicality of expanding the CNG industry in that city. There is only one natural gas pipeline providing gas to Mazar-e-Sharif and it is only safe to operate at minimal pressure.

    Hallmark: The people who conceived the project to build the compressed gas station never thought for a second where the gas would come from. They just built the station for the hell of it.

    — Construction on a planned new gas pipeline has not started and about $6.5 million worth of new pipe is apparently sitting in storage in Afghanistan.

    Hallmark: The people who built the station, the people who ordered the pipe and the people who organize construction did not speak to one another. They may have worked for different contractors. They may not have even known the others existed. They may have done their work in different years. By the time anyone figures all that out, the pipe in storage will have been pilfered, and likely melted down by the Taliban to make mortar shells.

    — The gas project may never be completed unless the state-owned Afghan Gas Enterprise pays up to $16 million for its completion.

    Hallmark: Leaving some part of a reconstruction project for the host government to pay for was a plan designed to promote “buy in.” In reality, the host government is far too busy sucking up American money via every possible channel of corruption available, and could care less about buy-in on whatever dumb ass thing the Americans are building now.

    — The process for converting automobiles in Afghanistan to CNG appears to be cost prohibitive for all but the wealthiest of Afghans.

    Hallmark: And here’s the money shot — even if all of the above factors could somehow be fixed by magic, the project would still be a complete waste. Nobody in Afghanistan wanted what the U.S. was building to begin with. If we built this compressed natural gas station for anyone, it is at best as a financial mastubatory device for ourselves.

    Bookmark this page so in a few years when Afghanistan devolves into the mess Iraq is today, you’ll know why!

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  • Recent Comments

    • John Poole said...


      NASA is as desparate, cluelessss and corrupt as the American DOD. The race to the Moon was goofy enough but now NASA is considering a mission to Mars? Maybe they want to help the Martians learn how to grow poppies or weed to export back to Earth. Martians? Afghans? Same thing.

      06/10/15 8:26 AM | Comment Link

    • Bruce said...


      And either Way; no place to Go, but Down! Now, it’s ObamOnanism in place of BushWhacking OFF!

      06/10/15 9:54 AM | Comment Link

    • Johnson Waters said...


      There’s an AUTOPLAY VIDEO on this page that will not shut up – it loads every time, weeks after the post was written.

      Something along the lines of “How important *is* the middle east to your business” “that’s a really important question”. See – I have it memorized.

      Could you please turn off the AUTOPLAY feature?

      06/11/15 7:58 AM | Comment Link

    • RICH BAUER said...


      “Nobody in Afghanistan wanted what the U.S. was building to begin with.”

      As if THEY mattered. Got to hand it to TPTB though. War profiteers get RICH, while proving to American taxpayers that the Gov will just waste their taxes. Another reason not to raise taxes.


      06/13/15 7:24 AM | Comment Link

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