The Washington Post

The proposed construction at Kabul Embassy is behind schedule and over budget

As the war in Afghanistan enters its twilight hours, the diplomatic hub of U.S. efforts in Afghanistan, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, is only getting bigger and more expensive. Construction costs for a proposed annex have not only increased by 20 percent, but its completion has been delayed for another two years

U.S. Government and Accountability Office report released Tuesday indicates that the proposed expansion of the embassy was supposed to be completed by the end of summer 2014 but has been pushed back to July 2016, while the original cost of the two contracts to modify the embassy has leapt from $625.4 million to $773.9 million.

The contracts were awarded in 2009 and 2010 respectively, with the aim of building a number of structures and offices on the embassy grounds. The new buildings will contain 1,237 desks and 661 beds. Both the number of additional desks and beds has been adjusted throughout the construction process to accommodate “increases in numbers and changes in composition of embassy staffing requirements.”

According to the report, projected staffing levels for the embassy in 2015 is around 600 U.S. personnel and 1,100 locally employed staff.

The report indicated that the delays and excessive costs were due in part to contractor delays, working on the facility in a “conflict environment” and delays from shipping routes that crossed through Pakistan.

As the war winds down, the State Department is unsure how the embassy will sustain itself with supplies like food, water and fuel. If the State Department turns to local contractors, it will have to reevaluate the facility’s staff composition and facility usage.

The embassy was reopened in 2002 after Afghan and coalition forces routed the Taliban, and has seen a significant increase in personnel and subsequent draw-down in the years since.

Thomas Gibbons-Neff is a staff writer and a former Marine infantryman.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments

Sign up for email updates from the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

You have signed up for the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

Thank you for signing up
You'll receive e-mail when new stories are published in this series.
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.