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US reportedly abandons plans for Afghan consulate after already spending $80M


US officials abandoned plans to open a consulate in northern Afghanistan over security concerns -- despite spending more than $80 million on the site, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

Significant security problems at the proposed compound in Mazar-e Sharif were overlooked and officials sought waivers to strict State Department regulations to press ahead with the plans.

An assessment by the US Embassy in Kabul, which was seen by the Post, revealed the proposed compound would be vulnerable to a car bombing because it relied on local building techniques.

In March 2009, then US envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, lobbied for a consulate to be established in Mazar-e Sharif within 60 days, the assessment said. The city was thought relatively safe as it was some distance from the Taliban strongholds in the south.

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