Getty Images / Scott Olson

How American Tax Dollars Are Being Wasted In Afghanistan

Fourteen years after the invasion, the U.S. is still wasting billions on "infrastructure" projects in Afghanistan.

By Elizabeth Hagedorn | November 3, 2015

What will $43 million get you in Afghanistan?

This gas station, which should have cost no more than $500,000 to build.

That was one of the findings in a report released by the government oversight team that monitors U.S. spending in Afghanistan.

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Although most U.S. troops have left Afghanistan, billions of U.S. dollars are still pouring into the country. 

Since 2002, Congress has set aside $110 billion for rebuilding efforts. Of that, more than $60 billion was spent on troops, with the rest going toward infrastructure. 

To underscore just how much money that is, consider this: The U.S. has spent more on reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan that it did on the Marshall Plan — an effort to rebuild Europe after World War II.

A lot of money has gone to waste in Afghanistan. The $43 million gas station might be the most glaring example, but it's not the only one. 

There was the $34.4 million spent on a soybean project — despite evidence it was "inappropriate for conditions and farming practices." 

There's the $36 million army facility that was never used.

And who could forget the half-billion-dollar purchase of cargo planes, later sold for $32,000 in scrap after it was determined the Afghans couldn't fly them.

Oh, and that gas station? Pretty useless. Converting cars to use compressed natural gas costs around $700. That's more than the average Afghan makes in a year.

This video includes images from Getty Images, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan and United Soybean Board / CC BY 2.0.

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