$117 billion. That is how much money the United States of America has spent on “rebuilding” efforts in the war-torn nation of Afghanistan. The figure almost rivals the $130 billion in donations and loans the US committed to the Marshall Plan in 1948, which was used to fund reconstruction efforts in seventeen nation-states across Europe in the ruinous aftermath of World War II. However of the vast fortune invested in Afghanistan at least $2 billion has gone into projects of dubious value or need – or straight into unknown pockets. According to John Sopko, head of the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), there have been:
…major failures in Afghanistan that have cost U.S. taxpayers billions…
The failures include spending $8.5 billion to combat opium production, he said. Fifteen years later production is near all-time highs. The U.S. spent $400 million to buy and retrofit 20 Italian cargo planes for the Afghan Air Force, which turned out to be “death traps,” he said. Scrapping the planes cost an additional $100,000 each.
A $43 million compressed natural gas filling station was built, even though no cars in Afghanistan ran on natural gas. And $6 million was spent to transport and support rare Italian goats to breed with Afghan goats in an attempt to improve Afghanistan’s cashmere quality. Many of the goats died, and the project director quit in frustration
Of course, the figures above do not include the actual war-fighting expenses of the US military since the invasion of the country in 2001. As of 2016 that may stand as high as $600 billion.