Ghost Soldiers: How the Afghan Military Is Defrauding American Taxpayers
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Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction John Sopko says the Afghan military is employing tens of thousands of soldiers who don't actually exist. These 'ghost soldiers' are just names put on the books so that higher-ranking Afghan personnel can steal their salaries.
Your tax dollars are being used to fund these ghost soldiers. The exact amount is still unclear in America's longest war.
With no end is in sight, President Donald Trump is considering sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan. However, more boots on the ground may not be the answer, according to the man overseeing the country's reconstruction.
"When we identified it and said this was a problem, there was some pushback," Sopko told CBN New, "pushback from the Pentagon. There was pushback from some members of the Hill. There was pushback from some of the bureaucrats, these nameless, faceless bureaucrats you see in the government, saying 'no, no we are exaggerating.'"
Sopko says he was first warned about ghost soldiers by Ashraf Ghani before he became president of Afghanistan.
Sopko says ghost soldiers were uncovered throughout the Afghan government.
"We found it in the ministry of education, ministry of public health, the ministry of public works, and in the military and police," he said. "There are non-existent individuals getting salaries -- paid for by you, the U.S. taxpayer, along with our allies. And it's still happening now!"
To date, more than 120 billion American tax dollars have been spent in Afghanistan. Plus, another $7.5 billion has been appropriated but not yet spent.
Sopko says a Justice Center Operation has indicted several Afghan soldiers, including a general who took a $150,000 bribe and got a 15-year sentence.
"We are starting to do this but they need help. They need mentors," he told CBN News. "The other threat is two very brave Afghan investigators were just gunned down on the street by a hit team. So that means they are getting close to some big Mafiosos.
The bottom line: Sopko says the United States dumped too much money, too fast into too small of an economy, with too little oversight.
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