A watchdog group issued a report detailing the mismanagement of more than $1 billion that was earmarked for fuel supplies to the Afghan National Army. The report stated that there is no evidence that the fuel is actually being used by the Afghan security forces for their daily operations. This has several ramifications which range from gross incompetence by coalition forces to the worst case scenario that the Afghan army is supplying insurgents with fuel. After conducting an audit, it was found that financial records amounting to $475 million in fuel payments had been shredded with no explanation.
This entire story is completely unacceptable. The US government must closely document all Afghan spending to ensure money is not wasted or funneled to terrorist organizations. Auditors must be employed at all levels to track payments and ensure the money is properly spent. Running a war is similar to managing a large company with many different subsidiaries and the oversight must be in place to match the scale of the operation. The immediate red flag should have been the shredded financial documents – something is seriously wrong when hundreds of millions of dollars in financial transactions are intentionally destroyed. Anybody remember Enron or Worldcom?
If that isn’t bad enough, the fraud will get exponentially worse when international forces withdraw at the beginning of 2013. When that happens, the Afghan government will have complete responsibility for spending the money. At best, the integrity of the Karzai Administration is somewhere between Bernie Madoff and a Mexican drug cartel.
The bottom line is that immediate action is needed by external auditors to review all military spending by coalition forces and the Afghan government. Concordantly, writing checks to the Hamid Karzai when the US withdraws next year is incredibly irresponsible. Without a doubt, money will end up in the hands of Taliban fighters who will use it to finance their terror operations.