U.S. officials are warning that wide-ranging deficiencies in an aging 55-mile gas pipeline in Afghanistan could suffer from a “catastrophic failure” if the United States does not take immediate steps to repair vulnerable areas.
Afghanistan’s Sheberghan-Mazar pipeline has “suffered from years of corrosion,” according to government oversight authorities.
Despite an estimated $14 million U.S. reconstruction effort along the pipeline, engineers still have not succeeded in fixing vulnerable areas, according to the Special Investigator General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), a government oversight body.
While the Pentagon’s Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO) in the war torn country has invested millions to rebuild unsafe areas of the line, “the project is not yet complete and TFBSO will soon cease its work in Afghanistan” as the United States wraps up operations there, according to a warning letter sent by SIGAR to outgoing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.
SIGAR’s findings highlight larger concerns by many that Afghanistan will rapidly collapse—potentially into violence—as the United States withdraws and hands key responsibilities back to the central government.