Plans scrapped for Afghan consulate

May 6, 2012 at 5:20 PM

WASHINGTON, May 6 (UPI) -- Officials say plans for a U.S. consulate in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e Sharif have been abandoned due to mounting security concerns.

The project for what would be the United States' diplomatic hub in Afghanistan began in 2009, when officials sought waivers to State Department building rules. So began a series of security problems at the site, including relying on building techniques which made the compound vulnerable to car bombing, documents show.

Despite the 10-year lease and upwards of $80 million that had already been spent on the project so far, officials have recently deemed the location too dangerous and abandoned the project.

The Washington Post reported Richard Holbrooke, President Obama's former envoy to Afghanistan, lobbied in March 2009 for a consulate in Mazar-e Sharif to be erected within 60 days. At the time, the city was deemed relatively safe.

The site would be near the Blue Mosque, one of the most sacred sites in the country, as a sign that America was committed to the Afghan people.

The Post reported more decisions of this kind are likely to come as the United States diminishes its presence in the war on terror.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul declined to comment.

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