Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: US embassy in Afghanistan construction faces cost overruns

Construction at the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, has been plagued by delays and cost overruns that may have affected security, the Government Accountability Office said. But the Obama administration said the surge in U.S. forces years ago and now the subsequent drawdown of American personnel, among other factors, forced adjustments to the project. Costs for two construction contracts have increased by about 27 percent to $792.9 million, and completion has been delayed three years, the agency said. Despite the embassy’s expansion, the State Department “has no security standards tailored to those facilities,” the GAO said. The State Department inconsistently applied alternative security measures, the report said. The report recommended that the State Department consider setting up security standards or guidance for temporary buildings in conflict zones. The GAO is the investigative arm of Congress.



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