The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said in a new report released on Thursday that after more than 12 years and over $249 million spent, only 15 percent of the Qasyar to Laman road, between Faryab and Badghis, has been completed.
The report said that from July 2005 through to September 2017, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved four grants totaling $571 million to complete the section of the Ring Road from Qeysar in northern Faryab province to Laman in western Badghis province.
“Most of those funds were for financing contracts between the Afghan Ministry of Public Works (MoPW) and construction, engineering, and security providers to complete the 233-kilometer road segment,” according to the report.
However, the project has been plagued by security challenges, poor contractor performance, and a lack of capacity within the MoPW to manage large construction contracts.
“Those issues led to repeated failed efforts and to the termination of two contracts for the construction of the road. As of September 2017, construction had been stalled for two and a half years,” it said, adding that “by that time, ADB and MoPW had spent $249 million on the project only 15 percent of the construction was actually completed.”
It also said that in December 2017, ADB approved $150 million in additional grant funding to complete the road. This $150 million in new funding brought the total allocation for the project up to $721 million, with between $249 million and $283 million already spent and up to $472 million remaining to fund future construction.
“We provided a draft of this report to the Department of the Treasury, which provides oversight of the multilateral development banks, for comment on April 9, 2018. We received technical comments through the Office of the US Executive Director to ADB on June 1, 2018, which we incorporated as appropriate. We also provided a draft of this report to the Afghan government. The Afghan government also provided technical comments, which we incorporated as appropriate,” according to the report.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is an international finance institution dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific region through loans, grants, and technical assistance.
The Ring Road is intended to be a continuous highway and major economic thoroughfare that connects Afghanistan’s four major cities—Kabul, Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif, and Kandahar. In mid-2005, the Afghan Ministry of Public Works (MoPW), the ministry responsible for creating a safe and effective road network in Afghanistan, requested ADB grant funding for a large construction project to complete the Ring Road from Qeysar, in Faryab province, to Laman, in Badghis province.
When complete, this portion of the Ring Road would stretch 233-kilometers and run northeast from Laman to Qeysar. According to ADB’s grant proposal, completing the project would significantly improve the stability and reliability of the Afghan transportation system, reduce transport costs, and contribute to economic growth and poverty reduction.