Report: Contract Fraud Puts U.S. Troops at Risk of IEDs

October 11, 2012

Afghan contractors responsible for preventing culverts from being used to hide roadside bombs on a major highway have falsely reported completing the work, putting American troops at risk, U.S. investigators revealed Thursday.

It's unclear if any U.S. troops have been killed or wounded because of the potential fraud, and a criminal investigation is underway. The announcement comes as U.S. troops have increasingly been targeted for attack by Afghan security forces.

"We've heard this tune again and again for the last 10 years," said Peter Singer, director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution. "Another sad illustration of how corruption in the realm of contracting not only led to lost taxpayer money but also potential lost lives."

A Navy contract officer first reported potential fraud involving work on the culverts, the U.S. command in Kabul said in a statement. The contractors were paid $361,680 to place 125 metal grates over culverts to prevent insurgents from packing them with improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the top cause of American casualties in Afghanistan.

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