Chuck Spinney: US Military Corruption Continues

Commerce, Corruption, Government, Military
Chuck Spinney
Chuck Spinney

President Obama claimed that America’s combat mission Afghan War was over in his SoU address, but 9,800 troops will remain in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future involved in training and counterterrorism missions.  This mission of this left over force has officially been changed to “Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.” To date, the U.S. has spent over $780 billion on the Afghan war, and Obama’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget plans to continue this hemorrhage by calling for as much as $$42.5 billion to be spent on this mission during FY 2016, which begins on October 1 of this year.  The attached report explains argues that this commitment will merely reinforce failure because –

  1. Click on Image to Enlarge
    Click on Image to Enlarge

    The Afghan National Army (ANA) will never be able to sustain itself;

  2. The ANA’s guerrilla adversaries understand the ANA cannot sustain itself;
  3. But U.S. politicians will foolishly continue this losing cause because they benefit from the money flow created by perpetual war (CS: This foolishness goes beyond blaming politicians: it would be more accurate to say the players in the political-economy of the MICC’s iron triangle has become addicted to the added money flows created by perpetual war).

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Bad news for Afghanistan – 30 thousand Afghan troops flee the security forces

Kimberly Dvorak – Examiner – 08/02/15

The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) is prepared for the president by 16 US National Intelligence agencies and last year they predicted the collapse of the Afghan government by 2016, unfortunately the process is steamrolling well ahead of schedule. Last week Special Inspector General of Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) loudly announced that US Army General John Campbell, commander of all International Forces in Afghanistan, classified much of the Inspector General’s reporting on taxpayer spending inside the crumbling Islamic nation. The Inspector General, John Sopko, and the American press corps embarrassed the US military commander on Twitter and TV broadcasts that forced him to reconsider opening the books for taxpayers to examine.

Unfortunately, General Campbell’s retreat from last week’s headline wasn’t the whole story.

The real story behind the Pentagon’s failed decision to close the books on Afghanistan lies in the diminishing Afghan Security Forces; last fiscal year 30,000 Afghans fled the military! The numbers were released in an October 2014 Department of Defense report. “ANA (Afghan National Army) manning was approximately 165,000 personnel (significantly below its 195,000 cap), to include approximately 6,000 AAF personnel. The attrition rate in the ANA continues to pose challenges to ANSF development,” the report said.

America and its allies highlight the main area of concern for the Afghan Security Forces remains “shortfalls of MoD (Ministry of Defense) human capital,” in other words, they have a big recruiting and retention problem. This is problematic because if the locals refuse to fight the Taliban and other jihadist movements on behalf of their country – why should US taxpayers continue to spend treasure and blood for them?

Another unresolved challenge remains corruption within the government of Afghanistan. The government is incapable of balancing its books, and insists the US cover the shortfall, which cost the American taxpayers an additional $500 million in a nation with a national GDP of $45Billion. (Read this reporter’s articles on Afghan corruption filed in 2011 describing billions flown off shore.)

The latest report also explains America’s responsibility; “The United States intends to maintain a military presence of approximately 9,800 personnel in Afghanistan beginning January 1, 2015, to pursue two separate but linked missions.

  • First, the United States will provide the bulk of forces for the NATO-led train, advise, and assist (TAA) mission, known as Resolute Support, to develop further Afghan security institutions (ASI) and their capabilities, enabling them to conduct the various national-level functions that are crucial to generating resourcing, and sustaining fielded forces.
  • Second, as Operation Enduring Freedom ended on December 31, 2014, the remainder of U.S. forces will continue to put pressure on the remnants of core al Qaeda and its affiliates in the U.S. counterterrorism (CT) mission. By the end of 2015, the United States will reduce its overall force by roughly half and will transition to a Kabul-based mission by the end of 2016 with a robust security assistance component to focus on managing and overseeing continued Department of Defense (DoD) funding for sustainment support of the ANSF.”

Further lamenting the bad news, French Lt. General Joseph Anderson said last month that Afghan forces “were having trouble sustaining troop numbers in the face of defections and soaring casualty numbers. Nearly 20 percent of Afghan army positions were still unfilled as of October.

Recruiting and retention aren’t matching – and, of course, don’t forget losses,” he explained Anderson, who leads NATO’s International Security Assistance Force Joint Command (ICJ) also said, “close to 5,000 Afghan police and army personnel have been killed fighting the Taliban since the start of the year.”

The French general went on to say the Afghan Security Forces were simply “inept” and not capable of performing basic maintenance on equipment provided by the US and its allies.

US politicians ignore the facts as reflected in the NIE intelligence reports that conclude Afghanistan can never sustain itself in the region, something terrorist groups are well aware of.

Foolishly they continue to push the US war machine trying to fool taxpayers into believing their Middle East adventurism is a viable and successful policy. Realities on the ground dictate a losing cause, while the winners include the corrupt politicians who line their bank accounts with dwindling US taxpayer funds.