KABUL, Afghanistan — For years, U.S. officials held up Kabul’s largest power plant project as a shining example of how American taxpayers’ dollars would pull Afghanistan out of grinding poverty and decades of demoralizing conflict.
But behind the scenes, the same officials were voicing outrage over the slow pace of the project and its skyrocketing costs. The problems were so numerous that one company official told the U.S. government that he’d understand if the contract were canceled.
“We are discouraged and exhausted with the continued flow of bad information,” one U.S. official complained in an internal memo that McClatchy obtained. “This is a huge example of poor performance on an extremely important development project.”
Despite expressing serious misgivings in internal memos and meetings, the U.S. agency that was overseeing the project more than doubled the plant’s budget.
Welcome to Afghan aid, American-style.
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