"On a recent trip to Afghanistan, I uncovered a potentially troubling example of waste that requires your immediate attention."
That's one of the opening lines of a letter the U.S. special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction sent to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel this week. In it, Special Inspector General John Sopko detailed how a contract worth $34 million was used to build a facility U.S. troops will never use.
President Obama is considering the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, leaving no small residual force in that nation, according to reports from The New York Times and CNN.
This report is part of "Those Who Serve," an occasional series that looks at those who wear the military uniform during a time of war.
It's early afternoon at a small outpost in eastern Afghanistan, and U.S. Army Sgt. Chris Cunningham, with the 10th Mountain Division, heads into a long, dusty tent to teach Afghan soldiers the basics of map reading.
After the sun sets, American soldiers help Afghan soldiers outside the wire. They pop artillery shells containing what's called an illumination round.
NATO troops pull out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014, leaving some Afghans concerned about security. The withdrawal of foreign troops also opens up multiple chances for a successful democracy. A new generation is emerging in Afghanistan that is more educated, more connected with the world and more hopeful about the future than previous generations. Renee Montagne talks to with Shaharzad Akbar, chairperson for Afghanistan 1400; and Haseeb Humayoon, founding partner and director of QARA Consulting.
The tenuous nature of efforts to bring peace to Afghanistan were dramatically underscored Tuesday morning when gunmen attacked buildings near Afghanistan's presidential palace in Kabul as journalists were gathering to hear from President Hamid Karzai about nascent plans for peace talks with the Taliban.