Millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars were being foolishly wasted paying for the salaries of non-existent “ghost” soldiers.
In an interview with Sharyl Attkinson of Full Measure, special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, John Sopko, it was all but confirmed that millions of US taxpayer dollars were wasted away under the Obama administration on the salaries of “ghost” or non-existent soldiers and policemen in Afghanistan
“We’ve been raising this concern about ghosts going back a number of years,” Sopko said. “Actually I want to say we heard about it from (Afghan President) Ashraf Ghani years ago, before he became president, he warned me about ‘ghosts,’ so we started looking three years ago.”
“What we’re talking about are policemen, Afghan policemen, Afghan military, Afghan civil servants who don’t exist or they have multiple identity cards and we’re paying their salaries,” he explained.
“By ‘we’ I mean the United States and the international community. And we started finding out that we had no capacity to measure the number of soldiers, teachers, doctors, military people who we are paying their salaries.”
Fox News had even reported as early as October 2016 that, based on a Sopko letter released to the Pentagon, the fraud could have amounted to more than $300 million annually.
“In January 2015 we reported that more than $300 million in annual, U.S.-funded salary payments to the Afghan National Police were based on only partially verified or reconciled data, and that there was no assurance that personnel and payroll data were accurate. We found similar deficiencies during the course of our April 2015 audit of Afghan National Army personnel and payroll data,” wrote Sopko.
That’s not just fraud, folks. In fact, according to Sopko, it’s “Major fraud. And what’s happening is the commanders or generals or other higher officials are actually pocketing the salaries of the ghosts.”