Afghanistan News February 10 2012
KABUL - U.S. taxpayers paid Afghan entrepreneur Ajmal Hasas millions of dollars as part of a plan to win over villages in the country's insurgent heartlands.
Instead, Mr. Hasas' seven-mile road construction project went so awry that his security guards opened fire on some of the very villagers he was trying to woo on behalf of his American funders.
Mr. Hasas was a point man in a $400 million U.S. Agency for International Development campaign to build as much as 1,200 miles of roads in some of the Afghanistan's most remote and turbulent places.
Three years and nearly $270 million later, less than 100 miles of gravel road have been completed, according to American officials. More than 125 people were killed and 250 others were wounded in insurgent attacks aimed at derailing the project, USAID said. The agency shut down the road-building effort in December.