Washington, DC - Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) released the following statement today in response to investigative findings by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). The SIGAR report identifies $12.8 million worth of unused electricity distribution equipment purchased with funds from the Commander’s Emergency Response Program (CERP) to meet urgent needs in support of the counterinsurgency strategy.  The equipment sits in storage, with no plan for use or installation, in Shorandam Industrial Park outside of Kandahar City.

“This report is proof that we must stop wasting taxpayer dollars on programs that don’t work and cannot be sustained after we leave.

“We made a commitment to the Afghan people we would help modernize their country and support a commercialized power utility. Instead, efforts to distribute power in Kandahar and Helmand have been understaffed and met with resistance. We’ve also spent $12.8 million on electricity distribution equipment that is sitting unused, without any plan for getting it out of storage. It’s appalling that the taxpayers have spent $88 million dollars on wasted parts and a power grid that only works 20-40% of the time.

“We need to consider ending CERP and other emergency slush funds if they cannot be used responsibly and strategically.”