WASHINGTON — If you want to see what more than $85 million can buy, look no further than photos of what was supposed to be a $60 million luxury hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan.
“It’s been 11 years. They spent 60 million. They added another 30 million so they’re 90 million in and they’re not completed,” said Sen Rand Paul (R- KY).
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) sent staffers to the country who took photos and say they saw the results of poor planning first hand, a U.S. taxpayer funded hotel built directly across the street from the U.S. Embassy there.
“Now we’ve discovered that it’s so unsafe that snipers could crawl up it and shoot down on our embassy that now we have to send soldiers over there to risk life and limb to patrol it to keep it free of snipers,” Sen. Paul said in an interview last week.
The Inspector General for Afghanistan reconstruction found both the hotel and adjacent apartments deficient. Buildings with no doors, windows or flooring...and cracks in the walls that are constructed. In summary, the report found the hotel “is unfinished and appears to be abandoned.”
“We've seen this happen over and over again with a lot of large scale construction projects. schools hospitals roads,” said Neil Gordon, an Investigator with the Project on Government Oversight.
Government watchdogs say it’s created a conundrum for all U.S. funded projects in the region.
“We have a national security interest in securing and rebuilding Afghanistan. And to make sure that it's no longer a haven for Terrorists and criminal activity,” Gordon said.
The Department of Defense says The Marriott Corp. was slated to take over the hotel but pulled out in 2013, due to security concerns. As for what’s next, Sen. Rand Paul said he’s been told the hotel will be torn down, a project likely to cost even more taxpayer money.