Doesn’t it warm your heart to know your hard-earned tax dollars helped the Department of Defense pay for a $43,000,000 Afghanistan gas station? And this isn’t just any gas station, mind you. This is a compressed natural gas (CNG) station, to be exact. Even better, it’s in Sheberghan, Afghanistan, where the happy citizens’ average annual income of under $700 isn’t even enough to convert a car to natural gas. According to an article on USA Today, “U.S. taxpayers footed the bill for a $43 million natural-gas filling station in Afghanistan, a boondoggle that should have cost $500,000 and has virtually no value to average Afghans”. That may be true, but I bet it has really nice bathroom facilities, probably even with those fancy airblade hand dryers.
Another thing you can be proud of is the fact that, according to ABC News, “The DOD charged the American taxpayer $43 million for what is likely the world’s most expensive gas station.” Go big or go home, right? It’s the American way.
Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John Sopko, in the same ABC News article, is being a real fly in the ointment, it seems. He has this to say, “To date, DOD has been unable to provide documentation showing why the Sheberghan CNG station cost nearly $43 million…Even considering security costs associated with construction and operation in Afghanistan, this level of expenditure appears gratuitous and extreme”. “Gratuitous and extreme”? Isn’t that a little gratuitous and extreme?
It may be a tremendous waste of American dollars (read ‘money taken out of your wallet’), undoubtedly lining the pockets of quite a few people along the way, but I’m sure it makes a lovely monument to greed, stupidity, and out-of-control government spending to the local Afghans as they ride by on their camels.