The US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), citing reports by Afghan agencies, said that nearly half of all police forces in the southern regions of Afghanistan are using drugs.
“Afghanistan’s General Directorate for Internal Security, partnering with National Directorate of Security, found that approximately 50% of police in Kandahar, Zabul, Helmand & Uruzgan provinces used drugs,” said SIGAR.
Also, “50% to 70% of police positions were “ghost soldiers,” said SIGAR, meaning personnel listed on the books do not exist.
The report said:
General Directorate for Internal Security (GDIS) arrested approximately 1,025 police and government officials over the past year as part of its countercorruption, counter-insider threat, and counterespionage efforts. GDIS, partnering with the National Directorate of Security for an insider threat assessment in Kandahar, Zabul, Helmand, and Uruzgan Provinces, found that approximately 50% of the police in these provinces used drugs and 50% to 70% of police positions were “ghost soldiers. CSTC-A and DOD commented that this was a draft MOI-NDS report that cannot be corroborated.
“The government spent millions of Afghanis combating drugs, but, they did not get any result out of it…instead we hear that 50 percent of Afghan police personnel are using drugs,” said Abdul Baseer Osmani, a member of the Afghan parliament.
According to the report, however, a number of security officials were dismissed from their jobs over their involvement in corruption.
“Despite these challenges, CSTC-A said its efforts helped MOD remove 40 corrupt actors whose cases stagnated through mandatory retirement or assignment to the active reserve. For example, the deputy minister of interior for personnel and training was removed after a four-year effort. According to CSTC-A, this deputy minister had control over all police training centers; there are active investigations of his subordinate partners,” said SIGAR.
The report also stated that the political certainty and COVID-19 challenges have had an impact on countercorruption efforts.
On political uncertainty, SIGAR said: “CSTC-A reported that national-level political uncertainty, COVID-19 challenges, and continuing violence have negatively impacted countercorruption efforts. For example, administrative punishments and removals in both the MOD and MOI have been concentrated at the regional (rather than national) level. CSTC-A has received multiple reports of attempted interference by military commanders and elected officials in countercorruption investigations.”
According to the SIGAR report, failure to fight corruption in the institution may lead to the termination of US funding to the Afghan forces in the future.
According to the report, insufficient progress to counter corruption in managing US-funded equipment and materiel “could trigger a DOD decision to withhold ASFF in the near future. CSTC-A reported that national-level political uncertainty, COVID-19 challenges, and continuing violence have negatively impacted countercorruption efforts. For example, administrative punishments and removals in both the MOD and MOI have been concentrated at the regional (rather than national) level.”
Afghan officials responded:
“We have seen the recent report by SIGAR, its under our assessment, after conducting a thorough assessment of the report, we will share the outcome of the study with our countrymen,” said Tariq Aryan, a spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Interior.
“This can affect international commitments and assistance, this could have serious consequences for Afghanistan,” said Abdul Rahman Wardak, a member of the Afghan parliament.
“Major Crimes Task Force (MCTF) effectiveness is steadily improving. The new director has replaced or fired several section chiefs while implementing changes to the organization’s personnel structure. The MCTF has an active corruption investigation into a deputy minister who reportedly participated in forgeries involving 65 construction cases billed to CSTC-A.
SIGAR said that by March 2020, the MOI reported it executed 171 warrants and had 84 outstanding. Of the 171 executed warrants, Afghan authorities immediately released all but four defendants.