Reports have emerged demonstrating U.S. funding the Taliban--the very enemy which our best and brightest have been fighting in Afghanistan since 2001. This should be no surprise to many. In May, Fox News reported similar activities of funding these Pashto insurgents through Pakistan. The article compared and contrasted the Afghan National Police and Afghan insurgent’s pay scales.
“The United States has been pumping billions of dollars into Pakistan—a poor country that will do anything to keep foreign aid flowing into its corrupt regime’s hands. One of our biggest concerns should be that once our foreign aid is disseminated abroad, it is extremely difficult to track. In fact, it’s so hard to follow the money that an individual could argue that the United States cannot be 100 percent certain that our own U.S. foreign aid has not wound up assisting in the funding of America’s enemy.”
Today, a devastating Senate report details flaws of contracts inside Afghanistan. Contracting in Afghanistan is a very unique business. Money starts from the U.S. Government, an initial contract is agreed to a local Afghan prime contractor, that prime contractor fulfills another solicited proposal to fellow Afghans, and the madness continues.
Contracting in Afghanistan is complex. A one million dollar road construction project could inevitably turn out to be only a $75,000 project when the finalized contract is agreed upon. The initial awardee can take up to a 50% cut off the original contract; his sub-contractor could take another 50% leaving only $250,000 dollars for the infrastructure project. Do this two more times and you wind up with a $75,000 contracted project—a process not uncommon in Afghanistan.
Very few have the capabilities to monitor $925,000 of lost U.S. tax payer money in Afghanistan. It’s easy to track back who obtained the initial contract but it’s extremely difficult to determine the hands of those whom these types of funds eventually procure— a one million dollar contract is pennies on the dollar in comparison to the magnitude of monetary expenditures for infrastructural nation building taking place in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan has been a quantitative war masking the horrors of reality. Numbers mean everything as they demonstrate a false sense of success for those operating in the country. Persons are promoted based off how many insurgents were killed or captured during their tour of duty. Promotions occur when reports demonstrate monetary dollars spent on nation building programs. Our obsession with quantity has backfired considering the little quality which resulted in our quantitative endeavors. Today, our lack of qualitative oversight demonstrates how Afghan insurgents were capable of funding their own initiatives—they use U.S. tax payer dollars.
Kerry Patton is the Co-Founder of the National Security Leadership Foundation, a non-profit organization pending 501c (3) status. He has worked in South America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe, focusing on intelligence and security interviewing current and former terrorists, including members of the Taliban. He is the author of “Sociocultural Intelligence: The New Discipline of Intelligence Studies” and the children's book "American Patriotism." You can follow him on Facebook.