Ghost Soldiers- Non-Existent Afghan Troops Who Cost Millions In US Aid

The always scintillating Sharyl Atkisson has a great story on her new site Full Measure on how the Afghans have discovered an old scam used by the Mafia and the Arabs whom call themselves Palestinians to steal money from gullible donors. It’s called no show jobs. Afghani government authorities collect millions of dollars in aid in the form of salaries for Afghan soldiers, policemen, doctors and civil servants who don’t exist and simply pocket the cash! We’re paying huge amount of money for non-existent Afghan troops:

Here’s a partial transcript:

Johhn Sopko Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction: We’ve been raising this concern about ghosts going back a number of years. Actually I want to say we heard about it from Ashraf Ghani years ago, before he became president, he warned me about “ghosts,” so we started looking three years ago.

Sharyl: John Sopko is the Inspector General watching over the U.S. taxpayer billions spent to rebuild Afghanistan.

Sharyl: When you say “ghosts,” what are you referring to?

Johhn Sopko: What we’re talking about are policemen, Afghan policemen, Afghan military, Afghan civil servants who don’t exist or they have multiple identity cards and we’re paying their salaries. By “we” I mean the United States and the international community. And we started finding out that we had no capacity to measure the number of soldiers, teachers, doctors, military people who we are paying their salaries.

Sharyl: For years, multiple audits have shown there’s no way to prove that the money we send for salaries is going to a real live body. And the payroll numbers just don’t add up.

Sharyl: For example, Sopko says, in June 2016, the supposed number of Afghan military and police was 319,595. But an Afghan official told AP “the best internal estimate” of the real number was “around 120,000.”

Sharyl: This implies fraud, obviously.

John Sopko: Oh, absolutely. Major fraud. And what’s happening is the commanders or generals or other higher officials are actually pocketing the salaries of the ghosts. And I remember president Ghani again, at that time he wasn’t president saying John, you the United States government are paying the salary of an Afghan who’s a teacher, he’s a civil servant, he’s a doctor, he is a policeman, and he’s a soldier. And it’s the same Afghan. And he doesn’t exist.

Sharyl: Paying for reconstruction in war-ravaged countries is an American tradition. After World War II, there was the Marshall Plan named after Secretary of State George Marshall.

Sharyl: The U.S. spent, in today’s terms, $103 billion over four years to rebuild 16 European countries.

Sharyl: Today, U.S. taxpayers have now far outspent the Marshall Plan on Afghanistan reconstruction: more than $117 billion.

Sharyl: $68 billion of that has gone for Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, the country’s police and military.

Sharyl: Last year, the governor of Helmand, Afghanistan reported discovering at least 400 non-existent “ghost soldiers” on that province’s payroll.

Sharyl: And Helmand’s police chief was also quoted as saying that of 26,000 Afghan National Defense Security Forces assigned there, “40 to 50 percent…did not exist physically when we asked for help during operations.”

John Sopko: So you’re talking about instead of 300-some thousand, it may be only 150-thousand actually exist. Especially in Helmand province, the new provincial governors down there were raising serious concerns that most of the police and soldiers that they needed during the last fighting season weren’t there.

Sharyl: In multiple letters and audits, Sopko has taken the Pentagon, which manages the money, to task stating, “Persistent reports…raise questions regarding whether the U.S. government is taking adequate steps to prevent taxpayer funds from being spent on so-called ‘ghost’ soldiers.”

Sharyl: And he says the ghost phenomenon extends beyond Afghan defense and security paychecks…to other forms of aid.

John Sopko: It’s not just the salaries. But we’re funding schools based upon the number of students, so if you invent or inflate the number of students, you’re going to be paying more money. On the soldiers and the police, we’re paying for extra boots, for food, for everything else, logistics for numbers that don’t exist.

(go here for complete transcript)

Of course, Ms. Atkisson and General Sopko aren’t mentioning the obvious…that aside from just being pocketed by Afghans in a position to do so, a lot of this money is likely being used to help fund the Taliban.

This is actually the way countries like this have functioned for centuries when dealing with the infidels. And the no show job is such an oldie but goodie that there’s really no excuse for us falling for it. Except of course for that old truism: It’s always easy to spend other people’s money, no?

Rob Miller

Rob Miller writes for Joshuapundit. His articles have appeared in The Jerusalem Post, The Washington Examiner, American Thinker, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The San Francisco Chronicle, Real Clear Politics, The Times Of Israel, Breitbart.Com and other publications.

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