A newly released Pentagon report has concluded that U.S. military bases used to house Afghan nationals that were evacuated from Afghanistan amid President Joe Biden’s pullout from the country have sustained hundreds of millions of dollars worth of damage.
The report comes after approximately 76,000 Afghan nationals were evacuated over a period of several days back in August 2021 to staging bases in Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Spain, Italy, Bahrain, and Germany.
The evacuees were then sent to temporary housing facilities at eight DoD installations — Fort Bliss, Texas; Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JBMDL), New Jersey; Fort McCoy, Wisconsin; Camp Atterbury, Indiana; Fort Pickett, Virginia; Fort Lee, Virginia; Marine Corps Base (MCB) Quantico, Virginia; and Holloman Air Force Base (AFB), New Mexico.
The U.S. Department of Defense Inspector General said that 11 of the installations submitted estimates to reset facilities, equipment, and consumables to pre-Operation Allies Welcome conditions.
The costs were broken down into two categories: Facilities and Equipment/Consumables.
The report said that there was an estimated $257.48 million in damage to the facilities, including $174.9 million for Army bases, $3.21 million for Navy bases, $63 million for Air Force bases, and $16.37 million for Marine Corps bases.
A group of DoD restoration reviewers said that $238.04 million in damages were eligible to be paid for through Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster, and Civic Aid (OHDACA) funds.
The report said that the remainder in damages to facilities and damages to equipment/consumables — more than $100 million — would need to paid for through the operation and maintenance or military construction appropriations allocated to each involved DoD Component.
For example, Air Force officials said that the damage caused by the Afghan nationals was unrepairable as officials described “tables, chairs, and cots broken by guests and tents and cots ruined by spray paint, human biological matter, and holes.”
The high costs to U.S. taxpayers resulted in damaging the U.S. military’s preparedness for military operations, the report said.
“DoD installations reported that facilities and equipment were overused, damaged, and remained in various degrees of disrepair, resulting in a costly maintenance effort,” the inspector general found. “DoD installations need to restore their facilities and equipment to a condition that enables them to conduct trainings, prepare for future events, and return to normal base operations.”