US military donates nearly $1B in property to Afghan government
By CHAD GARLAND | STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 28, 2016
Between January 2010 and February 2015, the Defense Department donated roughly $858 million worth of real property to the Afghan government through the transition of military bases it operated in Afghanistan over the course of the war, a government watchdog agency said Monday.
The former bases, ranging from small, tactical combat outposts to large operational bases, cannot be sold to the government of Afghanistan, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said in a fact sheet.
If it is not transferred to another military department or federal agency, it can be abandoned, dismantled or donated. Transferring the property to the Afghan government is more cost effective than the other options in most cases, Christine Abizaid, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia, wrote in a letter attached to the report.
For example, during the transfer of Camp Leatherneck in October 2014, when NATO formally ended its mission in Helmand province, roughly $236 million worth of property was donated to the Afghan government. About $39 million worth was dismantled.
Of the 715 bases the U.S. operated over the course of the war, 391 were turned over to the government of Afghanistan, with the majority — 57 percent — going to the Afghan National Army, the report found. The Afghan National Police received 30 percent of the transferred bases, the second-largest share. Other bases were transferred to other components of the Defense Ministry and the Interior Ministry.
SIGAR found that the U.S. closed 219 bases, and the total value of property destroyed or abandoned on all of the transitioned bases amounted to roughly $48 million. Six bases were transferred to other U.S. government agencies. There were other bases where U.S. forces shared locations with coalition or Afghan forces, SIGAR said.
Twelve U.S.-operated bases remain open.