10:31 GMT +321 February 2017
    In this photograph taken on December 1, 2015, members of the Afghan security force keep watch during an ongoing operation against Islamic state (IS) groups in Achin district of Nangarhar province

    US Pumps Billions of Dollars Into Afghan 'Ghost Soldiers' That Don't Exist

    © AFP 2016/ Noorullah SHIRZADA
    Middle East
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    Afghan soldiers are struggling against the Taliban, in part because close to 40% of Afghanistan's forces are "ghost soldiers," troops that exist only on paper.

    Karim Atal is the head of the provincial council in Helmand, where the resurgent Taliban has seized large areas of land since the United States handed over control to Afghan forces a year ago.

    "At checkpoints where 20 soldiers should be present, there are only eight or 10," Atal told the Associated Press. "It's because some people are getting paid a salary but not doing the job because they are related to someone important, like a local warlord."

    In other cases, dead soldiers and police remain listed among active participants, while senior police or army officials pocket the salaries of the deceased, said Attal, who estimates that some 40% of the registered forces do not exist, the AP reported.

    Helmand's former deputy police chief, Pacha Gul Bakhtiar, said the province has 31,000 police officers on its registers, "but in reality it is nowhere near that."

    Afghanistan's government is ignoring the problem, Afghan lawmaker Ghulam Hussain Nasir told the AP.

    "When we say we have 100 soldiers on the battlefield, in reality it is just 30 or 40. And this creates the potential for huge catastrophes when the enemy attacks," he said.

    Afghanistan's security forces are entirely funded by the international community, at a cost of some $5 billion a year, most of which comes from the United States. 

    ghost soldiers, War in Afghanistan, United States, Afghanistan
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    • Mother Gorilla
      Because this funding and training from abroad is a bad idea, it is another form of occupation. No wonder, these Afghan forces don't materialise!
    • avatar
      Keeping Russia and China OFF Afghan, PRICELESS.
    • avatar
      It's called no-show job on Sopranos.
    • Drain the swamp
      Thats what happened with Mosul.
    • avatar
      Didn't I said a war know how to start but also know how to end. When a war dragged on for years, that war become a business and profession career to many. Nearly win, they pull back, nearly overrun, they fight hard as a way to generate income, ranks, status, and career.
    • avatar
      Local warlords! Interesting as the unclarifying forces go beyond the legal bounds of the countries' constitutional laws.
    • Ann
      "Afghanistan's security forces are entirely funded by the international community, at a cost of some $5 billion a year, most of which comes from the United States"

      That's how the west buys compliance. That's our "black budget" in operation. It's all off the books and into powerful pockets. I can it a fraud on the American AND Afghani people.
    • Ann
      Bob Hoferer, Same here Bob. I knew we were about the same age! HA.
    • avatar
      The more the merrier. The big bust is coming :) Oil - $USD 16 soon.
    • Mother Gorilla
      Bob Hoferer, it is like cast235 says it, they do not train these people for the benefit of the Afghan people, but to perpetutate their Western interests. My heart goes out to you, I lived in the States and I know how horrible it is to be on social security, there are millions of people in Europe in similar cases,
      the sooner the West gets out of these entanglements and comes to an understanding with Russia (and China, maybe), the better!
    • Mother Gorillain reply tocast235(Show commentHide comment)
      cast235, exactly!
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