Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!

Soviet Aid Helped Afghans, US Aid Helps Haliburton

  • After $110 billion spent US has nothing to show for its aid - allegedly to Afghanistan
  • In the 1960s and 1970s the Soviets could point to tangible benefits for Afghans for a fraction of the cost
MORE: History

Originally appeared at Russia Beyond the Headlines

Okay, I’m not “Fierce” George Alburov, and, certainly, I’m not the great and god-like Alexey Navalniy, but – even I’ve managed to find some pretty damn links, concerning the highest level of corruption and/or incomptenece in the US military/civilian services, when they have to deal with various “natives”. Articles cover the span of past 2 years – just to show that there were reports about this kind of “behavior” even before the SIGAR began “smoking out” this kind of stuff.

All sources are 100% kosher, no Kremlinite propaganda!

Let’s start with an article, about good ol’ lobbying gone wrong.

”Warnings by agronomists that the effort was unwise were ignored. The country’s climate turns out to be inappropriate for soy cultivation and its farming culture is ill-prepared for large-scale soybean production. Soybeans are now no more a viable commercial crop in Afghanistan than they were in 2010, when the $34 million program got started, according to a government-funded evaluation of the effort this year.

These are the bureaucratic explanations. The ambitious effort also appears to have been undone by a simple fact, which might have been foreseen but was evidently ignored: Afghans don’t like the taste of the soy processed foods. This view survived even the U.S. government’s use of what it called “food technologists” to teach families how soybean products can be used to make tasty meals.

As one of the project’s managers said, it was a “risky but honorable endeavor,” meant to improve the nutrition of malnourished Afghans by raising the level of protein in their diets. As such, the project’s problems model the larger shortcomings of the estimated $120 billion U.S. reconstruction effort in Afghanistan, including what many experts depict as ignorance of Afghan traditions, mismanagement and poor spending controls.”

Well, but those were some dirty unscrupulous capitalists, who’ve mismanaged that perfectly reasonable (and doomed to success!) idea. But what about other, more military related issues? Well, ah…

Hundreds of thousands of U.S.-supplied weapons missing in Afghanistan

”Washington and Kabul have failed to keep track of hundreds of thousands of weapons provided to Afghanistan, raising the risk that some could end up in the hands of insurgents, a U.S. audit said Monday.

The United States also had delivered more weapons than Afghan forces now needed, partly because Kabul officials had revised their requests over time, the report said.

Since 2004, the American military has delivered more than 747,000 AK-47 rifles, machine guns, grenade launchers and other weapons to Afghan forces worth about $626 million.

But the U.S. and Afghan governments have botched record-keeping for the weapons, with potentially tens of thousands of assault rifles and other arms unaccounted for, according to the findings of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.”

And the next article just can’t be true! It’s all some elaborate, April 1st hoax! No, really!

$45 Billion in Tax Dollars Goes Missing in Afghanistan

”The auditors said DOD handed over data only for $21 billion of the total $66 billion it spent rebuilding the war-torn country. But unlike most cases of missing money in Afghanistan (of which there are plenty), the auditors don’t blame this on corruption or waste—but rather on accounting issues.

The Commander’s Emergency Response Program, for example, is set up in such a way that it’s extremely difficult to monitor all of the money spent on the program’s projects. Under that program, commanders may spend money to respond to emergencies like floods and fires. Any expense below $500,000 isn’t treated as a traditional defense contract and doesn’t have to be recorded in the same way.

The Pentagon only had data for about 57 percent of the total $795 million spent by that program between the years 2002 and 2013.”

Yeah, sure – no possible way that such imperfect system could be used (or IS used) by some corruption scheme, like building a $43 million gas station… Oh, wait!

I’ve linked this article previously, but I think it’s still worth to re-post a link to – thus it will look better “in the context”.

The fraud of war
U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have stolen tens of millions through bribery, theft, and rigged contracts.

”Pocketing thousands in cash from illicit fuel sales
Military fuel in Iraq and Afghanistan has been a perennial target of theft during the past 14 years of war. In Afghanistan, fuel moved around the country in “jingle trucks,” tankers adorned with kaleidoscopic patterns and metal ornaments. At Fenty, for example, jingle trucks bearing fuel arrived every few days from suppliers in Pakistan, all driven by locals under contracts with the base. Officers at Fenty then distributed it to 32 nearby bases, with the largest ones using up to 2 million gallons of fuel a week.”

And I thought – “Nothing can top that!”. Oh, how I was wrong!

U.S. Wastes Millions On Base In Afghanistan It Will Never Use

”A new letter out on Wednesday from the Special Inspector-General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) criticizes the construction of the $34 million base, which appears to be the result of an extremely expensive lack of communication within the Department of Defense. According to the letter, a senior military official told SIGAR’s John Sopko that the facility was designed for a military division that never deployed and “subsequently, a decision was made not to construct the facility, but inexplicably the building construction started and is now complete.”

Spreading out over 64,000 square feet, the building was designed for maximum of 1,500 staff, and includes a war room, briefing theatre, and offices for senior military officers including a three-star general. Unfortunately, by the time the project was nearly completed, the surge of Marines in the south of Afghanistan that convinced Pentagon officials that such a command center would be needed dropped from 20,000 to around 7,000. Today, only 450 people may be able to use the building, which Sopko warns would result in “excessive operation and maintenance costs because the cooling systems would be underutilized.” So at present, the building instead stands empty and unused.”

But why concentrate all our flack on poor Afghanistan alone? Here, we have an article that might explain some reasons as to why the Iraqi army has been so unsuccessful in its fight against the ISIS:

Iraq uncovers 50,000 ‘ghost soldiers’

””The prime minister revealed the existence of 50,000 fictitious names” in the military, said a statement from Abadi’s office on Sunday after a session of parliament.

A parliament statement said the premier scrapped the 50,000 jobs, equivalent to almost four full army divisions.

Abadi’s spokesperson Rafid Jaboori said that the investigation started with a thorough headcount during the latest salary payment process.


The officer explained that, for those reasons, the thousands of soldiers who defected or were killed this year across Iraq were rarely declared as such.

The US, which occupied the country for eight years, has spent billions of dollars training and equipping Iraq’s military.

Since taking office in September, Abadi has sacked or retired several top military commanders, and Sunday’s announcement suggests he wants to tackle the graft and patronage that prevailed under his predecessor Nouri al-Maliki.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant armed group stormed through northern Iraq in a 48-hour offensive in June, charging virtually unopposed towards the outskirts of Baghdad, humiliating the Iraqi army which surrendered both land and weapons as it retreated.”

Reading the comment sections on various news sites about the most recent and blatant “mis-spending of fund” (after all – “corruption” is such an ugly word!), I was “overjoyed” by the average reaction of all-knowing and patriotic commenters. It’s been primarily “denial” and “anger”. And a lot of “whataboutism”, in lieu of “Taliban was worse!”, “Soviet were even more corrupt!” and “America won the war and kicked AQ’s ass so it’s not our problem that some mooslims can’t manage corruption. YEAH!”.

I’m sure, that American version of Navalniy with his “RosPil” would be welcomed by the general population of the Bastion of Democracy with open arms!

Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!
MORE: History

Our commenting rules: You can say pretty much anything except the F word. If you are abusive, obscene, or a paid troll, we will ban you. Full statement from the Editor, Charles Bausman.