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U.S. Watchdog Seeks Answers From Pentagon On Failed Afghan Aircraft Program

A member of the Afghan Air Force stands alongside a C-130 transport aircraft sporting the Afghan national flag at Kabul international airport. (file photo)

The United States' watchdog for Afghanistan spending is seeking answers from the Defense Department after the Pentagon purchased 20 Italian-made aircraft for $486 million for the Afghan Air Force and 16 were sold as scrap metal for a total of $32,000.

The Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction released two letters on October 9, one asking about the destruction of the 16 aircraft and the other asking about the status of the remaining four, currently stored at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany.

The aircraft could not meet operational requirements in Afghanistan after serious performance and maintenance issues and the program was grounded in March 2013.

The price of the grounded aircraft to an Afghan construction was about 6 cents a pound, said the Inspector General.