John F. Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (Sigar), said in an address on Monday that over 50 percent of fuel purchased for the Afghan Security and Defense Forces (ANDSF) was not reaching its intended destination.
“We have heard, we haven’t documented it exactly because it’s so difficult but that over 50 percent of the fuel we purchase for the Afghans never reaches the intended people. The fuel just gets diverted,” he said.
He went on to say that NATO commander in Afghanistan General John Nicholson is working on the problem.
Speaking to the Washington Journal, which provides a forum for lawmakers and journalists to discuss key topics surrounding today's legislation, Sopko said: “We have wasted a lot of money in Afghanistan.”
He said security and corruption were both big issues in the country. “We have problems with intense corruption in the Afghan military and police so a lot of the money we are spending never ends up in the hands of the soldiers or the police who need it.”
“We have documented cases where corrupt officials have stolen the fuel, sold it to the Taliban, stolen weapons we have provided, sold it to the bad guys. That’s the big issue we are facing.”
He said however that it was difficult to do oversight in a war zone but that President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Abdullah Abdullah “were trying to clean house” in terms of ending corruption. He also said he was “cautiously optimistic” that these efforts would pay off.
He also raised the issue of ghost soldiers and ghost police that the U.S was paying for. He said the same applies to schools and clinics. “We have ghost schools, and ghost clinics and all of that we are paying for.”
Meanwhile, the Presidential Palace said in a statement that the reforms process and anti-corruption campaigns are ongoing in security agencies and that basic changes have been brought to the defense and interior ministries.
The Presidential Palace said Afghan soldiers have been included in the biometric system in order to prevent the existence of “ghost soldiers”.
However, a number of MPs said they believe that foreigners also have a hand in corruption in Afghanistan.
“There is corruption in public offices and government. Besides that there is a ministers problem, which we accept is a problem,” said a member of Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament), Zekria Sawda.
“Americans are not honest in eliminating corruption. They would have swept out the problem if they were honest in this respect,” said Abdul Wadud Paiman, an MP.