The U.S. may be unwittingly doling out checks to “ghost workers” of the Afghan National Police who don’t even exist, according to an alert letter sent from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.
The letter alleges payment of salaries to non-existent members of the police force, and comes as just the latest in a string of fraud, waste, and abuse exposed by SIGAR under the leadership of John Sopko.
“I am writing to express my concern that the U.S. may be unwittingly helping to pay the salaries of non-existent members of the Afghan National Police,” Sopko wrote in the February 19 letter to two U.S. generals and one Canadian general serving in theatre. “The possibility of ‘ghost workers’ on the (Afghan National Police) payroll came up several times in the course of my most recent visit to Afghanistan and in recent discussions with European Union (EU) representatives.”
The letter follows a previous report from SIGAR that found $US6.3 million in payments going to Afghan police to fix broken vehicles, many of which had been out of service for over a year or had even been destroyed.
In a March 12 reply to Sopko, U.S. Army Major General Kevin Wendel, the head of the Combined Security Transition Command for Afghanistan, said his command was “aggressively pursuing this issue.”
“But (our command) has not found evidence that anyone knowingly paid for non-existent workers,” Wendel wrote.
SIGAR has been shining a light on shoddy accountability and questionable reconstruction for years, as a cursory look at their website finds allegations of waste as common in Afghanistan as dirt. While accountability on the U.S. side is a large factor, corruption in the country still reigns supreme.
Previous reports found the Pentagon paid $US12.8 million for equipment that went completely unused, records being shredded of $US201 million in fuel purchases for the Afghan National Army, and millions from the U.S. military actually ending up in the hands of the Taliban, among many others.
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