In 2006, a U.S. government overseas private contracting group approved a proposal to build a 209-room, five-star Marriott hotel and luxury apartment building across the street from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.
The project was intended to be sign of tribute to Muslim investors and serve as a “gateway for returning Afghan citizens who have spent time outside of their homeland.” The U.S. government jumped at the opportunity to spend more money appeasing the elites of Afghanistan and began construction in 2009 with an initial loan of $60 million.
Years past by. The money from the federal government was flowing in but the construction was non-existent.
In 2011, the construction company asked for $27 million more to complete the project. In 2013, they notified the government contractor that they were stopping all work on the project due to what they claimed were “security issues.” Since then, the hotel as remained empty and gutted, guarded by U.S. security forces 24/7.
And today, 10 years later, "all that’s there is an empty shell — a ghost hotel,” Fox Newsreported.
The Special Inspector General for the Afghanistan Reconstruction visited the site in August and October of this year and found the buildings had numerous problems, including structural cracks in the walls and roof, damaged steel beams and columns, and uninstalled doors and windows. The electrical, elevator, communications, fire prevention and suppression, sewer, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems were "incomplete."
The general wrote:
I am writing to alert you to serious deficiencies in the management and oversight of $85 million in loans made by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (“OPIC”) for the construction of a hotel and an adjacent apartment building, directly across the street from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. I recently toured both buildings and was briefed by my staff about the underlying funding of these projects. Both the hotel and the apartment building now appear to be abandoned empty shells, and both loans are in default, possibly as the result of fraud.
No official timetable or plan has been anounced regarding the future of this project.