Nov 24, 2013
After a dozen years of war in Afghanistan, the Obama administration announced this week it was on the verge of residual security deal that would keep US troops on the ground through 2024. The deal included words like fostering cooperation and good faith training, but focused on US forces remaining at eight bases throughout the tribal nation along with billions of US dollars per year.
Watch the San Diego 6 News TV segment here: http://www.sandiego6.com/story/afghan-security-plan-20131124
Earlier this week outgoing Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai answered questions at a press conference concerning US troops staying past the 2014 exit date. The main debate centers on what role the U.S. military will play when it comes to the controversial village raids in the war against terrorism.
“(If) They commit these violations against our sovereignty and they conduct raids against our people. Air and other attacks in the name of the fight against terrorism and in the name of this resolution of the United Nations, this is against our wishes. But if the agreement is signed and if they continue to do the same through our signature (on the agreement), then it would be like us surrendering.”
Despite the tough words, the State Department and the Pentagon expect the agreement to include protection for US soldiers. However final approval must come from the Loya Jirga, a group of 3,000 tribal leaders that may try to alter the document, something the U.S. says it will not tolerate. However, President Karzai continues his game playing in order to negotiate with the US and its allies for stricter terms and more money. One unsolved key provision remains– the jurisdiction over US soldiers
The new Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) extends the U.S.’s presence in Afghanistan well past the 2014 withdrawal date set by President Obama. Also, the new agreement would allow 15,000 US/NATO troops to continue their anti-terror efforts as well as train Afghan security forces. The 10-year agreement also paves the way for billions of US taxpayer dollars to flow into the exceedingly corrupt tribal nation.
The White House along with Department of State, and the Pentagon have reiterated their concerns that the document must be signed before the end of the year in order to plan how many troops will be required and the budgetary costs. Currently, the pallets of US dollars required to provide security are $4 billion per year.
While State Department officials are confident the BSA will be accepted, the US found itself in a similar situation in Iraq. In 2011, the Iraqis’ failed to reach a consensus over the protection of US forces while they continued their mission inside the country. In the end, America pulled all its soldiers to avoid local legal entanglements and as a consequence Iraq has descended into a bloody sectarian warzone.
Nevertheless, Secretary of State John Kerry claims he has personally reached an agreement with President Karzai. “I’m pleased to say that in a series of conversations with President Karzai… we reached an agreement as to the final language of the bilateral security agreement.”
President Obama also weighed in on the BSA and said; “we (America) will continue to make every effort to respect the sanctity and dignity of Afghans in their homes and in their daily lives, just as we do for our own citizens.”
However, lost in the conversation from mainstream media is the fact that the Afghan constitution crafted by the United States created an Islamic Republic that installed Shariah law as the Law of the Land, not the secular Rule of Law.
Throwing good money after bad
Adding to the growing list of reasons to leave the war-torn nation is the latest Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) report. The report indicates that US dollars continue to go unaccounted for and critical spare parts for the Afghan security forces have gone missing. The exact figure is $370 million. Other noteworthy expenses include $500 per gallon gasoline. This adds up quickly because Afghanistan is a land locked nation with only a handful of roads capable of handling military vehicles.
Additionally American’s must also pay off the warlords in order to guarantee safe passage along the deadly mountainous highways. (Story link here) Adding insult to injury is Pakistan’s new complaint regarding drone strikes along the Afghanistan/Pakistani border. Just this week they began closing one of the few border crossings required by the US military and NATO allies to supply troops stationed in Afghanistan.
What most American’s don’t realize is their tax dollars will continue to flow into the well-documented corrupt nation well after the supposed 2014 war conclusion.
Proof of this comes from former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ronald Neumann. He told CNN in January, the U.S. government would spend at least $5 billion in aid and military, plus the yearly costs to keep the embassy operational and secure for years to come. Confirming the billions of U.S. aid was former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who said America planned to maintain its support of $2 billion per year through 2017 and beyond.
But is this money well spent after a dozen years of war? If past precedence were an indicator that U.S. dollars’ flowing into the nation of Afghanistan is money well spent, most Americans would say no. For example, here are a few plum quotes taken from a series of stories this reporter posted in April of 2011 titled, Billion dollar corruption within the U.S. picked Afghan regime.
“After reviewing Afghan custom records, the Wall Street Journal reported that during a three-year period more than $3.1 billion in U.S. dollars left Afghanistan through the airport destined for Middle Eastern countries like Dubai and Abu Dhabi. More than $3 billion has been shipped from a country the CIA Fact Book claims only collected $1 billion in taxes annually.
However, U.S. officials believe the number to be much higher. A senior U.S. official said one courier alone removed $2.3 billion in the second half of 2008 and into 2009.
Investigators believe the cash is being siphoned from legitimate Western aid programs and being declared, placed in suitcases and pallets, and shipped to safe havens with the knowledge of the U.S. and NATO officials. For example, NATO gave Afghanistan approximately $14 billion year in 2010.
“More declared cash flies out of Kabul each year than the Afghan government collects in tax and customs revenue nationwide. It’s not like they grow money on trees here,” said one U.S. official investigating the corruption and Taliban. “A lot of this looks like our tax dollars being stolen. And opium (poppies), of course.”
President Karzai’s brother, Mahmood, who coincidentally is a U.S. citizen (under investigation for racketeering in the U.S.), contends it is the political opponents who are skimming money and sending it out of the country.
“Yes, millions of dollars are leaving this country but it is all taken by politicians. Bribes, corruption, all of it,” Mahmood Karzai says.
Even more perplexing is the fact Mahmood Karzai fears nothing and even dares the U.S. to investigate. “Let’s find out who is taking it. Let’s not go on rumors.” He continues to explain that he has talked with U.S. officials about this corruption and maintains his innocence when it comes to profiting from U.S. contracts.
Afghanistan’s Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal also confirmed there is missing money at a press conference, “We do not even know about it. We don’t know whose it is, why it is leaving, or where it is going.”
Senior U.S. officials are complaining that money is leaving faster than anyone realizes. “You get boxes loaded on the back of airplanes. You get guys, literally, bringing boxes of cash onto the plane.”
Another method used to get money out of Afghanistan is the airport’s VIP area. Often the VIPs are driven straight to their planes where they load their cash directly on board and fly off, according to Afghan General Asif and U.S. officials.
General M. Asif Jabar Khail, the chief customs officer at Kabul airport, described a recent incident where he came across one VIP who was taking undeclared millions out of the country and when they tried to stop the VIPs flight to Dubai, they were met with fierce opposition from higher-ups in the Afghanistan government. “It came from very, very senior people. They told me there was an arrangement with the central bank and told me to let it go.”
However President Hamid Karzai sees the money changing hands differently. “Making money is fine and taking money out of the country is fine. The relatives of government officials can do this, starting with my brothers. But there’s a possibility of corruption.”
If this is true why does America and NATO continue to send billions to such a corrupt country?
Many U.S. officials claim that partnering with Afghan law enforcement agencies, the United States can enhance anti-drug trafficking efforts that fund terrorist and criminal activities, foster citizen safety, and assist Afghans in their quest for justice. But the most recent international drug reports suggest otherwise as Afghan opium production is expected to reach 90 percent of all worldwide production.
Americans should be screaming, “Where is the justice for US taxpayers drowning in public debt?”
For more Afghanistan stories:
Part one; http://US troops fight and die to preserve Shariah Law in Afghanistan
Part two; http://US payments to Taliban & Afghan warlords threaten American/NATO troops
Part three; Billion dollar corruption within the U.S.-picked Afghan regime
Part four; http://www.examiner.com/article/terrorism-s-down-payment-the-form-of-drugs-and-u-s-aid-money-part-4
Afghanistan & Mexican drug cartels partner; http://www.examiner.com/article/afghan-heroin-and-mexican-cartels-are-a-recipe-for-disaster
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