Washington, D.C. (NNCNOW.com) - The US House passed an amendment to a bill Thursday prohibiting funding for all military infrastructure projects in Afghanistan.
The measure, authored by US Congressman Rick Nolan (D-MN 8th District), amends the National Defense Appropriations Act to state that none of the funding in the bill would be used for the Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund.
The Overseas Contingency Operations is authorized to spend up to $79 billion in infrastructure projects, with $790 million currently authorized for use in Afghanistan.
In a speech on the Floor of the House late Wednesday, Rep. Nolan told his colleagues that according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), Afghanistan is “one of the most corrupt nations in the world,” supplying more heroin than all the other nations in the world combined.
"The funds prohibited by my amendment would almost certainly have ended up in the hands of corrupt officials... As U.S. troops withdraw from Afghanistan, more and more of the country is outside of the areas in which U.S. personnel can travel and operate safely,” he added. “Subsequently, there is no way to properly audit or inspect these projects."
Since traditional banking services do not exist in most of the country, construction projects are financed, quite literally, with “truckloads of cash” driven by U.S. personnel.
The final passage of the full bill is expected Friday. The bill will then move to the Senate.