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Costs of New US Embassy in Kabul Soar to $800Mln

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The Government Accountability Office said in a report that the costs of building the new US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan have soared to almost $800 million and are likely to rise further.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The costs of building the new United States Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan have soared to almost $800 million and are likely to rise further, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a new report on Tuesday.

"Cost and schedule have increased for the Kabul embassy construction project," the report said. "Cost for the 2009 and 2010 contracts has increased by about 27 percent, from $625.4 million to $792.9 million, and is likely to increase further."

The Embassy is not expected to be completed until 2017, a delay of three years over the originally scheduled date.

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The increased costs and delays came as a result of the US State Department not following its own cost containment and risk assessment policies, the report said.

Since 2002, the State Department has built more than $100 million in temporary buildings intended for no more than five years' use to meet space needs in the Embassy compound.

But State Department still "has no security standards tailored to those facilities," the report said.

"State [Department] inconsistently applied alternative security measures that resulted in insufficient and different levels of security for temporary offices and housing, as well as increased cost and extended schedules," the GAO said.

The heavily-defended US Embassy in Kabul has been the target of several terrorist attacks. On September 13, 2011, an attack on the Embassy left at least seven people dead and 19 wounded.

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