Afghan Army and Police are marred with corruption: SIGAR

Afghan Army and Police are marred with corruption: SIGAR
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The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction has asked Afghan government to improve ANDSF governing, oversight and accountability systems.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) in a new report, released on Thursday in the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC, said called on the Afghan government leaders to ‘prosecute corrupt commanders within the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF).

The report is titled “Reconstructing the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces”.

Presenting the report, the special inspector John F. Sopko spoke out about corruption in security institutions.

“We spent millions of dollars to fix a minister's office to turn it into a palace. Wow, it might conditionality would have said in return for you have a fancy office that US taxpayers paying for, you have to fight corruption. I believe that was the minister of interior's office. And President Ghani last time I met him said that the ministry of interior is the most corrupt organization in his government,” said Sopko.

According to SIGAR , the report has been built based on tangible information.

“The assessment tools used by the United States and its coalition partners to evaluate the ANDSF focused on tangible information such as training and equipment, and failed to assess the intangible but important factors, such as corruption and leaderships,” read the report.

SIGAR said in the report that following the transition of security responsibilities from US and coalition forces to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, the issues of friction, casualties and especially the ghost soldiers have undermined the effectiveness of the Afghan forces.

The report also said friction among the contributing about the role of the Afghan National Police (ANP) has resulted in an identity crisis.
According to the report, focus on unsustainable force number has left the ANP with significant deficiencies.

According to SIGAR report, following the 9/11 attacks, the US military had no preplan for launching operations in Afghanistan. And that the Central Intelligence Agency stepped in and created relationships with anti-Taliban militias.

SIGAR also said at that time that the main focus was on war and little attention was paid for reconstruction. The Department of Defense planners were busy on operations and had not enough time to plan for post-conflict reconstruction and for building Afghan army and Afghan police.

“On 9/11, the U.S. military had no plans prepared and readily available for operations in Afghanistan. As a result, the U.S. response was initially led by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operators, leveraging intelligence assets and personal relationships with anti-Taliban militias, mainly the Northern Alliance faction,” read the report.

According to SIGAR , in 2002, the US and its coalition partners had decided that establishing and training Afghan national security forces can be an alternative for the foreign troops in the country. Despite it was agreed to lead the development of the new Afghan army, but the army was not developed as it was said.

SIGAR reported that the Afghan Special Forces became the “best-of-the-best” in the Afghan army, but due to negligence in training and equipment of the Afghan forces, the Afghan Special Forces were overused.

According to SIGAR report, although efforts were made to fight corruption, but still corruption exists in the security forces and the relevant ministries which have undermined the ANDSF activities.

“In 2002 there were options; in terms of being able to easily change the system. By sometime just about this time next year, one way or another, we are going to know a lot about how well the changes we are planning now will really succeed or fail,” said Anthony H. Cordesman, a military affairs analyst in the US.

Thus, the Spector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction has asked the Afghan government to fight against corruption and held accountable those involved in phenomenon.

SIGAR has made recommendations that can mitigate the corruption within the Afghan security forces.

Some of the recommendations are:

1: Improve ANDSF governing, oversight and accountability systems.

2: Impose stringent conditionality mechanism to eliminate the ANDSF’s culture of impunity.

The Afghan officials yet to comment on SIGAR reports. 

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