- Afghanistan’s ex-finance minister blamed “ghost” troopers for the US-backed government’s collapse.
- “Ghost” troopers were nonexistent troops or personnel manufactured by corrupt officers to pocket their wage.
- The Taliban effortlessly took about key metropolitan areas right before marching into Kabul in August, normally without the need of much of a struggle.
Khalid Payenda, Afghanistan’s previous finance minister, explained to BBC News that most of the 300,000 Afghan troops failed to exist and had been in simple fact “ghost” troopers made up by corrupt officials who exploited the technique for funds.
“The way the accountability was completed, you would request the chief in that province how several individuals you have and based on that you could work out salaries and ration expenses and they would generally be inflated,” Payenda explained to Ed Butler of the BBC’s Company Everyday.
Payenda also said that when troopers had been killed or deserted their commanders would retain their financial institution cards and withdraw their salaries.
There had been also leaders of government-backed militias who ended up “double-dipping,” Payenda said, or taking federal government wages while also accepting payments from the Taliban. Mixed with the actuality that precise troops had been not having paid out on time, this contributed seriously to the fast collapse of the Afghan govt, he stated.
“The entire sensation was, we cannot modify this. This is how the parliament is effective, this is how the governors work. Every person would say the stream is murky from the incredibly best, meaning the incredibly top is included in this,” Payenda stated, even though he additional that he failed to believe that former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was “monetarily corrupt.”
The Taliban regained manage of Afghanistan in August as the US finalized its withdrawal from the place. The militant Islamist group fast took more than main towns — frequently without the need of much of a struggle. Alternatively of battling for territory, the Taliban usually manufactured deals with local leaders
A month just before the Taliban takeover, President Joe Biden experienced touted the size and capabilities of the Afghan military services, which the US governing administration expended $83 billion schooling and equipping. Biden in a July 8 press convention stated the Afghan armed forces was as “well-outfitted as any army in the entire world.” Throughout the same press conference, Biden mentioned, “The likelihood there is certainly likely to be the Taliban overrunning every little thing and owning the complete nation is very unlikely.”
When the Taliban marched into Kabul, the Biden administration was forced to acknowledge that it was caught by shock by the blistering speed at which the militants seized territory. “It is definitely the case that the pace with which metropolitan areas fell was considerably greater than everyone predicted,” national stability advisor Jake Sullivan stated in mid-August.
Biden put a great deal of the blame on the Afghan armed forces, even though he’d expressed “have confidence in” in it just months in advance of.
The Afghan army was plagued by corruption and self-discipline challenges for several years, and the US govt was warned about the difficulty.
Payenda is rarely the initially official from Afghanistan or the US to specific problems about “ghost” soldiers.
“When we say we have 100 troopers on the battlefield, in actuality it is just 30 or 40. And this produces the prospective for huge catastrophes when the enemy attacks,” Afghan lawmaker Ghulam Hussain Nasiri instructed the Related Push in 2016. “It is an sign of significant corruption — the reason Afghanistan is one of the most corrupt nations in the planet.”
A different Afghan formal claimed that “no 1 understands the exact figures of the Afghan Nationwide Protection Forces.”
“Absolutely everyone is aware that we are experiencing this combat together with ‘ghost’ soldiers, and that is the purpose we don’t have adequate males,” Afghan soldier Mohammad Islam reported to the Related Press at the time. “The Taliban know it, also. When they attack us, and we’re not able to protect ourselves, the big adult men then question why.”
“Neither the US nor its Afghan allies truly know how numerous Afghan troopers and police are accessible for obligation, or, by extension, the genuine character of their operational abilities,” John Sopko, the distinctive inspector typical for Afghanistan reconstruction (SIGAR), explained to Congress in 2016. The calendar year prior, SIGAR warned that above $300 million for every 12 months was remaining doled out to nonexistent forces. SIGAR frequently pointed to the difficulties encompassing “ghost” troopers over the many years.
The US built an exertion to scrub “ghost” troopers from its payroll, but challenges with the Afghan army persisted.
In its yearly menace assessment released in April, the US intelligence local community warned that the Taliban “is possible to make gains on the battlefield, and the Afghan Government will battle to hold the Taliban at bay if the coalition withdraws guidance.”
The Biden administration has faced bipartisan criticism over its dealing with of the Afghanistan withdrawal.