WASHINGTON : The Pentagon spent $3 million on eight patrol boats for the Afghan border police but the vessels have been sitting in a US warehouse in Virginia for the past three years, a US government watchdog said Thursday.

The eight inflatable, rigid-hulled boats were purchased in October 2010 to help the Afghan National Police patrol the Amu Darya river along the country’s border with Uzbekistan, according to a report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), John Sopko.

Less than nine months later, the project was cancelled ‘without explanation’ although the boats were almost fully built, Sopko’s report said. ‘The boats currently sit unused at a Navy warehouse’ in Yorktown, Virginia, it said. ‘The military has been unable to provide records that would answer the most basic questions surrounding this $3 million purchase,’ the SIGAR report said.

The Pentagon has yet to make clear the justification for scrapping the project and has not provided information showing if there was a feasibility study conducted beforehand or whether the Afghan interior ministry had a role in the decision to acquire the boats, it said. The US Defense Department has not yet decided what to do with the river patrol boats. A Pentagon spokeswoman acknowledged the inspector general’s findings and did not have an explanation as to why the boat delivery was cancelled.

But she said that some flawed assistance projects should not overshadow the positive results overall from US aid efforts in Afghanistan over the past 13 years. ‘While there have been some instances of underperforming projects, these are vastly outweighed by the positive cumulative impact of the wide array of successful projects, ‘ said US Navy commander Elissa Smith.

The report is the latest in a string of damning findings from the inspector general, who has blasted the US government for wasting vast sums of money on ill-conceived and botched aid projects. The list of failures cited include an elaborate command headquarters in southern Helmand province that has never been used and $600 million worth of C-27 aircraft that are gathering dust in Kabul and Germany.

The inspector general earlier this year singled out Washington’s mammoth effort to counter the narcotics trade in Afghanistan and reduce opium poppy cultivation as a colossal failure. Despite spending $7 billion on counter-narcotics programs and $3 billion for agricultural projects since 2002, the amount of land devoted to opium poppies has nearly tripled since the US military arrived in Afghanistan more than a decade ago, according to the inspector general’s office. US forces and NATO allies plan to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of the year. Washington plans to keep a small force of 9,800 troops in the country next year but all American troops will be withdrawn by the end of 2016.