US taxpayers unnecessarily forked out around $28 million on uniforms for the Afghan National , a government watchdog for Afghanistan has said.
In a scathing report, John Sopko said that officials bought “forest” pattern uniforms, despite the Afghanistan’s landscape being only 2.1% woodland, and that the decision was “not based on an evaluation of its appropriateness for the Afghan environment”.
Sopko wrote that former Afghan defense minister Abdul Rahim Wardak had chosen the privately owned pattern over a cheaper one that the US already owned.
US officials, who had been searching for patterns online with Wardak, authorized the purchase because he “liked what he saw”, they wrote at the time.
“My concern is what if the minister of defense liked purple, or liked pink?” Sopko told USA Today in an interview. “Are we going to buy pink uniforms for and not ask questions? That’s insane. This is just simply stupid on its face.
“We wasted $28 million of taxpayers’ money in the name of fashion because the defense minister thought that that pattern was pretty.”
Republican Senator Chuck Grassley called the uniform decision “embarrassing and an affront to US taxpayers”.
“Those who wasted money on the wrong camouflage uniforms seem to have lost sight of their common sense,” he said.
Sopko’s has for years criticized the for wastefulness during the United States’ longest war.
In January, he told a think tank in Washington there was evidence that Taliban leaders had instructed commanders to purchase US fuel, ammunition and weapons from Afghan , because it is cheaper.
The is currently considering raising the level of US in Afghanistan, with a formal announcement expected this week.