There has been a rise in activity in Afghanistan. As we pull out, the Taliban moves in to take our place. It has been said that the Afghan security forces should take up the responsibility to protect and defend their homes. And with this, I am in full agreement, but there seems to be a problem with these forces.
It is not that these troops are not willing to fight for their home. It is not that the loyalty of these forces is compromised. Either of these problems could eventually be overcome. No, the problem is that only half of the forces we have been paying for actually exist.
Up to half of the tens of thousands of U.S.-funded Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) troops deployed to combat terrorism in southern Afghanistan’s volatile Helmand province “do not exist,” notes a U.S. watchdog agency appointed by Congress, citing the province’s police chief.
Nevertheless, all Afghan security forces are getting paid with U.S. taxpayer funds, including the nonexistent ones.
In an August 5 letter addressed to the U.S. Secretary of Defense and published on Friday, which marked the 15th year of the Afghanistan war, the U.S. Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the watchdog, highlighted the problems of “ghost” service members within the ANDSF.
The question that no one can answer is what has this cost us on the battlefield? How many coalition lives have been lost because their commander thought that they had backup? The backup never came because it was a “Ghost” unit?
As taxpayers, we should also wonder something else. Why are we still paying?