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Taliban buying fuel, ammunition from soldiers: SIGAR

Taliban buying fuel, ammunition from soldiers: SIGAR

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Jan 12, 2017 - 10:52

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Talibaninfo-icon buy equipment and supplies like fuel and ammunition directly from Afghan soldiers, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistaninfo-icon Reconstructioninfo-icon has said.

In a report on stabilisation efforts at high risk of failing, the federal watchdog said on Wednesday there were tens of thousands of ghost soldiers as the Afghan forces struggled to wrest back strategic areas from insurgents.

John Sopko released an updated version of SIGAR’s High-Risk List at the Center for Strategic and International Studies to highlight areas the new administration and Congress should consider when addressing major challenges in Afghanistan.

The report listed corruption, difficult sustainability of gains, the government’s inability to manage its budget effectively and mismanaged contracts as major challenges.

It added the US and Afghanistan had struggled to develop plans to improve the country’s security and infrastructure and to deal with a rising opium trade.

“US leadership in Afghanistan is also strong,” Sopko said, adding Resolute Support commander Gen. John Nicholson also sought major reforms from the Afghan government.

“But all is not positive. The most basic challenge that bedevils Afghanistan today is continued insecurity,” he remarked, saying Afghanistan needed a stable security environmentinfo-icon to prevent it from again becoming a safe haven for terrorists.

Despite $64 billion in US aid since 2002, the Afghan forces been playing “whack-a-mole” chasing the Taliban across the country, Sopko said, explaining 5,000 Afghan security personnel were killed in action in the first eight months of 2016.

In November 2015, the government claimed control of 72 percent of Afghanistan’s districts, a percentage that dwindled to 63.4 by August 2016. As many as 1012 insider attacks happened between January 2015 and August 2016, killing 247 security personnel, it explained.

Sopko also referred to reports that some commanders on the front line did not go on patrol to save fuel, which they sold in the market. About half of the fuel purchased by the US was siphoned off, he alleged.

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