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Let’s Waste $1.3 billion on the Afghan Police!

A big part of the U.S. plan to “win” in Afghanistan after only 13 years of effort rests on the Afghan National Police (ANP). Alongside the Afghan Army (RIP), the police are supposed to hunt down the Taliban and preserve order inside the cities. The army, for what it is worth, is supposed to hunt down the Taliban outside the cities. This is so that Afghanistan can develop a “civil society” where the army and the police are different things with different roles. Just here in the Homeland.

For the funs, this was the same plan in Iraq, and how’d that work out?

Well, it seems the police thing in Afghanistan is headed toward about as much success as it has enjoyed in Iraq. Also like Iraq, that failure is very expensive. Or so says what must be the most depressed group of people in the U.S. government, the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR). SIGAR just released an audit of U.S.-funded salary payments for the Afghan National Police (ANP), which total $1.3 billion.

The audit found:

–The U.S. is spending over $300 million annually for ANP salaries with little assurance that these funds are going to active police personnel or that the amounts paid are correct.

–There are almost twice as many ANP identification cards in circulation as there are active police personnel.

–After nine expensive years of effort, an electronic human resources system has still not been successfully implemented.

–Reports have disclosed inflated police rosters, payments being made to more police personnel than are authorized in particular locations, and police personnel receiving inflated salaries.

–20 percent of ANP personnel are at risk of not receiving their full salaries because they are paid in cash by a non-governmental agent, where as much as half of these payments are possibly diverted.

–U.S. officials confirmed that over the past year they accepted, without question, all personnel totals provided by the Afghan Ministry of Interior (MOI).

–Independent monitoring groups may have artificially inflated the percentage of successfully verified ANP personnel from 59 percent to as much as 84 percent.

–The U.S. plans to continue for an open-ended period of time handing over $300 million in annual U.S. funding for ANP salaries.

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Peter Van Buren writes about current events at blog. His book,Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99Percent, is available now from Amazon

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Peter Van Buren

Peter Van Buren

Peter Van Buren has served with the Foreign Service for over 23 years. He received a Meritorious Honor Award for assistance to Americans following the Hanshin earthquake in Kobe, a Superior Honor Award for helping an American rape victim in Japan, and another award for work in the tsunami relief efforts in Thailand. Previous assignments include Taiwan, Japan, Korea, the UK and Hong Kong. He volunteered for Iraq service and was assigned to ePRT duty 2009-10. His tour extended past the withdrawal of the last combat troops.

Van Buren worked extensively with the military while overseeing evacuation planning in Japan and Korea. This experience included multiple field exercises, plus civil-military work in Seoul, Tokyo, Hawaii, and Sydney with allies from the UK, Australia, and elsewhere. The Marine Corps selected Van Buren to travel to Camp Lejeune in 2006 to participate in a field exercise that included simulated Iraqi conditions. Van Buren spent a year on the Hill in the Department of State’s Congressional Liaison Office.

Van Buren speaks Japanese, Chinese Mandarin, and some Korean (the book’s all in English, don’t worry). Born in New York City, he lives in Virginia with his spouse, two daughters, and a docile Rottweiler.

Though this is his first book, Peter’s commentary has been featured on TomDispatch, Salon, Huffington Post, The Nation, American Conservative Magazine, Mother Jones, Michael Moore.com, Le Monde, Daily Kos, Middle East Online, Guernica and others.

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