Report: U.S. Dollars Wasted on Afghanistan “Ghost Soldiers”

A Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has said, “The U.S. government is paying the salaries of ‘tens of thousands’ of non-existent Afghan soldiers, police, teachers and civil servants.”

In a report given on Wednesday by the Inspector General John Sopko, it was reported that the salaries of “ghost soldiers” is just one of many ways Americans’ tax money is wasted in Afghanistan, and that gains made in Afghanistan are “modest” compared to the amount of cash spent.

Sopko summarized the report in a speech he gave at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., with the intention of highlighting to Congress and the new administration the challenges the U.S. will be facing in 2017 in regards to Afghanistan reconstruction.

Sopko stated:

“Including U.S. war funding unrelated to reconstruction, U.S. appropriations for Afghanistan now totals more than three quarters of a trillion dollars — not including the $43.7 billion requested for fiscal year 2017. To date, more than $115 billion of U.S. taxpayer money has been spent, sometimes wisely – too often not. Another $7.5 billion has been appropriated but not yet spent, and international donors have pledged to provide financial support to Afghanistan and its security forces through 2020.”

In the SIGAR report it showed how, despite dumping billions of taxpayer dollars into Afghanistan, the progress made in Afghanistan is small, relative to the amount of spent.

Sopko said, “As of Aug. 28, 2016, only 63.4 percent of the country’s districts were under Afghan government’s control or influence, a reduction from the 72 percent as of Nov. 27, 2015.”

The 320,000 member Afghan force “are generally capable and effective at protecting major population centers, preventing the Taliban from maintaining prolonged control of specific areas and at responding to Taliban attacks,” however when it comes to hunting them down, the army basically plays “whack-a-mole,” as they follow the Taliban around Afghanistan.

The Afghan war on drugs is also not faring well, according to the report:

“Although the United States has committed more than $8 billion to counter-narcotics efforts in Afghanistan, the opium trade has grown significantly since the fall of the Taliban. [The U.S.] estimates that as much as 60 percent of the Taliban’s funding comes from poppy production and cultivation.”

The U.S. troop casualty and death rate in Afghanistan since 2002 is also a major concern. Sopko reports that during that period “2,247 U.S. military personnel have died in support of operations there, while more than 20,000 others were wounded in action.”

To add to all of these inherent issues, the Afghan government is seen as corrupt:

“The percentage of Afghans who believe corruption is a problem of daily life, now 90 percent, has steadily increased over time. In 2016 Afghans paid more in bribes than the government is expected to have generated in revenue from taxes, customs, tariffs and other sources of income.”

Sopko added, “The U.S. contributed mightily to the problem by dumping too much money, too fast, into too small an economy, with too little oversight.”screen-shot-2017-01-12-at-8-48-30-am

Despite a multitude of problems that will be inherited and need to be addressed by the new administration, according to the Special Inspector of Afghanistan Reconstruction there was one positive achievement.

Sopko, speaking about the money wasted on human resources and ghost soldiers, said this:

“I was encouraged to hear that, as of this month, Afghan security forces are being paid based on a DOD-developed verification system, known as AHRIMS [Afghan Human Resources Information Management System] that relies upon ID cards embedded with biometric information being registered daily to measure attendance.”

The SIGAR Report summarized its conclusion, as follows:

screen-shot-2017-01-12-at-8-59-35-am

H/T: Fox News

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