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Afghan Prison Built with U.S. Money Falling Down Before It Opens

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An interior view of the Building 17 at Baghlan prison on Aug. 18, 2013, which was subsequently demolished due to safety concerns.
An interior view of the Building 17 at Baghlan prison on Aug. 18, 2013, which was subsequently demolished due to safety concerns.Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement

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An $11 million American-funded prison in Afghanistan has fallen apart before it even opens — and the U.S. State Department's plans to rebuild it call for shoddy construction, a government watchdog said Wednesday.

Photos of the lockup being constructed in Baghlan province for 495 inmates show serious structural damage: thick cracks that appeared in walls after the soil it was built on settled.

One building had to be demolished for safety reasons and the contractor intends to rebuild using the original materials and methods in violation of the international building code, according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

The use of improperly reinforced walls "could threaten employee and prisoner safety and the security of the facility," the inspector general, John Sopko, wrote in a letter to the State Department.

Sopko is set to testify Thursday before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform's Subcommittee on National Security about wasteful government spending in Afghanistan.

Baghlan prison building under demolition on Jan. 22.
Baghlan prison building under demolition on Jan. 22.Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement
— Tracy Connor

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