Mismanagement by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was responsible for the troubled power line project, which has resulted in a system that is not operational and may be structurally unsound and unsafe, according to the report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR.
It was one part of a larger projects aimed at providing more electricity to Afghans, and one the U.S. military said would help stabilize the country after years of war.
SIGAR also reported that in 2013, the U.S. awarded a $116 million contract to an Afghan company to design and build a high-voltage power system for areas in northeast Afghanistan.
The company was required under the contract to clear a path for the power line, and the Afghanistan government had agreed to acquire private land around the project, but SIGAR said neither task has been completed.
“This clearance consists of removing and disposing of trees and other vegetation, houses, barns, cattle sheds, and other structures, within about 41 feet of the center of the transmission lines,” according to the watchdog report. “However, SIGAR found that residents are still living and farming land directly under the … transmission towers and lines.”
The privately held land accounts for about 68 percent of the land needed for the power project, it found.