An effort to give construction projects to Afghan firms is leading to delays at a time when NATO is rushing to accommodate tens of thousands more international troops, U.S. officials say.
The Army Corps of Engineers is trying to award as many construction contracts as possible to Afghan companies to pump money into the local economy and win public support. New contracts are for NATO base expansions, Afghan police stations, Afghan army bases and other facilities.
But officials say the “Afghan First” effort is slowing down badly-needed construction projects. Even U.S. officers who support the goals acknowledge there’s a trade-off.
“You can either have it done on time, or contracted to the Afghans,” said Col. Kevin Wilson, the head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the south and west. He says his own office building took longer to complete because it was Afghan-built.
If you go to the link above, you will be able to read the entire article. When I read it, I wondered if this was an Afghanistan style of affirmative action? I understand why they want to give business to the local firms versus US or other country based companies, but there has to be a line of common sense that one should not cross. I mean if we are that worried about getting facilities built in order to support the troop surge, then that should be the priority. Give as much business as you can to the locals, but if they are not prepared to handle that business then either have the military do the construction or farm it out to non-Afghans.
The Afghan people have been making money hand over fist from Uncle Sugar and the rest of ISAF for more than enough years now. If after this many years construction companies are too busy or not prepared to do business by having the right people hired with the right skills, then they probably are not going to build a quality facility.
Now keep in mind Afghan Engineering is a lower standard than you have ever seen before. It is by far the worst construction standards (if there were one in that country) that I have ever seen. In fact I remember writing on this blog back when I was in country how I used to stare up at my ceiling in Orgun-E and see half a concrete bag sticking out of the ceiling. See it was because when they emptied the bag of concrete to mix it, they just threw in the bad with the mix. Lucky for me, that “Lucky Star” concrete held up, even with the foreign object mixed in with it.
So I think someone in the ISAF or CSTC-A or wherever the engineer or contracting officer works that makes the decision on who should build facilities need to get off of being “stuck on stupid” and focus more on getting the buildings built as fast as possible.
The Afghans are 2 weeks from the stone age, I don’t think they need to worry about Affirmative Action at this point in this culture and history.