Question: Do you have a reaction to the SIGAR letter?
Answer: The Department recognizes the concern of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) regarding Baghlan prison construction. We are committed to proper oversight of projects in Afghanistan and cooperate fully with SIGAR in safeguarding U.S. taxpayer investment.
The Department recognized the special requirements for construction in an earthquake zone in its initial planning. Contrary to the SIGAR letter, we have provided photographic evidence to SIGAR showing that the Department complied with International Building Code (IBC) standards. The Department will continue to comply with IBC standards in any future reconstruction contracts in Afghanistan.
The Department has taken action, through the Contracting Officer, including submitting a cure notice to the contractor on October 2, 2013, to hold the contractor accountable to rectify deficient construction identified by the Department and subsequently recognized by SIGAR. The Baghlan provincial prison units without construction deficiencies continue to be utilized by the Afghan General Directorate of Prisons and Detention Centers.
The Department has developed a multi-layered oversight approach in Afghanistan and is putting in place a construction monitoring and reporting contract to track daily construction activities and supplement the oversight conducted by Embassy Kabul personnel.
Please see the letter from the Department of State to SIGAR on the inspection of the Baghlan Prison construction project here: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/2014/224360.htm.