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DOD spent $150M on private villas, security for 'handful' of employees in Afghanistan, watchdog claims

U.S. taxpayers spent $150 million building fancy, hotel-like "villas" staffed with private security for government employees working in Afghanistan rather than having them live on U.S. military bases at a fraction of the cost, according to the top government watchdog charged with monitoring wartime waste.

The lead oversight team auditing U.S. spending in Afghanistan said Thursday the Pentagon's Task Force for Stability and Business Operations spent 20 percent of its budget on private housing and security guards for a "handful" of employees who could have lived on U.S. military bases for little or no extra charge.

"We are concerned that this may be another example of U.S. government officials not looking out for American taxpayers' dollars,"  John Sopko, special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction (SIGAR), told

The Department of Defense employees worked for the now-defunct Task Force for Stability and Business Operations, known as TFBSO or the Task Force -- the DOD's premiere program to kick-start the Afghan economy. The $150 million spent on the villas and private security supported "only a handful" and "no more than 5 to 10" TFBSO staff members the majority of the time, according to Sopko.

In a Nov. 25 letter to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, Sopko requested information on the Task Force's decision to spend nearly a fifth of its budget on the villas and security. From 2010 through 2014, Congress appropriated approximately $822 million to TFBSO for Afghanistan, of which the Task Force spent approximately $766 million.

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Once again, the federal government proves it has no regard for how our money is spent. It's time to shake things up in D.C. An Article V Convention of States can propose constitutional amendments that force the federal government to be fiscally responsible.

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