Corruption in Afghanistan costs US taxpayers – again

The Afghan Air Force has had to acquire be given (at US expense) four used Lockheed Hercules transports – because the planes it was originally given (also at US expense), while more suitable for its needs, were sidelined by rampant corruption within its ranks, and among Afghan politicians.

In 2012 Afghanistan announced that it would cancel the contract to buy and use 20 C-27A transports. The official reason was the inability of the Italian maintenance firm to keep the aircraft operational. The unofficial reason was the unwillingness of the Italians to pay as much in bribes as the Afghan officials were demanding. Over half a billion dollars was being spent on buying and operating the C-27s and all the money was coming from the United States. Afghan government and air force officials were determined to grab as much of that cash as possible. That meant there was not enough money for the spare parts and tools needed to keep the C-27As flying.

The Afghans can be self-destructive in so many ways, and letting these transports get away because not enough could be stolen from the contracts was another example.

. . .

In an effort to get past the epic and durable culture of corruption in Afghanistan the U.S., which supplies all the money for the Afghan security forces, obtained a different kind of maintenance contract for the four Afghan C-130Hs, Details of this deal were worked out by 2019. What makes this deal work is that Afghans have nothing to do with handling the maintenance money. There was also tighter controls over Afghan access to stocks of valuable spare parts (which, if stolen, will fetch a price on the black market). This deal costs about $10 million a year for each of the C-130Hs.

There’s more at the link.

It sticks in my craw that the USA is pouring good money after bad into the sinkhole of corruption that is Afghanistan.  Even worse, we’re pouring the lives of our service personnel down the same hole!  Of what strategic or geopolitical importance is Afghanistan to us, to justify the expenditure of one more US taxpayer dollar or one more American life?

Unless a serious, meaningful answer to that question can be given – and I haven’t heard it yet – I think there’s no longer any justification for keeping US forces in that country.

Some claim that the Taliban would take over again as soon as we left.  So what?  Let them run that hellhole of a country for themselves, and see how they like it – particularly without the cornucopia of US aid to subsidize them!  Others argue that Afghanistan would simply become a center for international fundamentalist Islam, ripe for ISIS or Al Qaeda or another group to set up their base there and export terrorism worldwide.  Yes, I suppose that’s a risk . . . but the present situation doesn’t appear to have stopped such terrorist organizations from functioning, does it?  Would the world be any worse off if they were shunted off the beaten track into Afghanistan?  I can’t see how.

I’ve been saying for years, along with many others, that no military solution is possible in Afghanistan.  Any serious student of history will agree.  As far as I’m concerned, this is yet another reason why President Trump should cut the Gordian knot and bring our forces home from Afghanistan.  Enough is enough.



  1. We always ignore the military solution that would work.

    Kill them all.

    There's gigantic moral problems with genocide, but you can't say it wouldn't eradicate the cultural problems of the native people.

    I live in fear of finding a situation where such genocide is the only realistic solution and what that would do to us in the long run if we did it.

  2. Congress has the constitutional ability to issue Letters of Reprisal.

    Had we just issued a Letter of Reprisal, paying $100 million to any person who either delivers Osama Bin Laden or his corpse to US custody and we would have saved thousands of American lives, billions of dollars, and this would have been over in a few months.

    If we just establish a court that hears evidence that a foreign national is a terrorist, and after a hearing adds their name to the letter. The bounty paid for each terrorist is set by the court. The letter is approved by Congress, and we bring our troops home.

  3. Having troops in Afghanistan and/or Iraq attracts Jihadist ninnies to fight on THEIR ground, not ours. I'm not saying that's a good ENOUGH reason, mind.

    What we should have done after 9/11 was have the President go on international television, draw the names of three or six Islamic cities out of a hat, and nuke them. Since that wasn't politically possible, second best would have been slam-bang invasions of Afghanistan (because they supported Isama Bin Hiding) and Iraq (because Saddam had never come close to meeting the surrender terms of the Gulf War, and therefore constituted Old Business that had to be cleared before we dealt with New Business). Then, having destroyed the governments of both countries, we should have held press conferences, said "Don't annoy us again,. or we will be back" and LEFT.

    Except, can you imagine the cow the Liberal Press would have had?


    We are, I fear, going to end up allowing the Islamofools to provoke us into going full-on Imperial. Then Proggie Liberal Pressies who criticize will find themselves in jail for 'sedition' so fast that they bounce, and Protesters who take to the streets will be sharing cells with their ACLU Lawyers. Republican President, Democrat President, doesn't matter. I have no idea what kind of attack will set it off, but I do know that unless we succeed in convincing the Islamic Nations that we're serious, the Jihadidiots will find out the hard way.

    It's going to be a mess.

    Won't bother me, much. I'm over fifty, in mediocre health, male, and white. I'll be deal long before the Imperial Government,ent gets around to oppressing ME.

    But it was a brave experiment in limited government, while it lasted.

  4. For an outstanding example of military actions and Afghanistan, read about Major General Sir William George Keith Elphinstone, AKA Elphy Bey, and the Khyber Pass. While Elphy Bey is, beyond the shadow of any doubt, the best argument against a seniority based command structure, the base problem still exists. The only people who can thrive in Afghanistan have lived there for generations and adapted to the harsh environment.

  5. Why are we still in Afghanistan? I figure someone is making a lot of money and/or it's an ego thing. I suspect "and" fits best here….

    We've been there for a generation now, what have we accomplished? Do we have a goal?

    Money & ego…..

  6. Let the Afghans kill each other, until they're tired of it, and I expect they'll NEVER get tired of it.

  7. "Money & ego….."

    I'm not sure about Bush; he might have been doing the "let's fight them on their ground, not ours" thing I mentioned. He might simply not have found it politically possible to do the "Trash them and leave" maneuver. I suspect that Obama found himself in a trap; if he pulled out, the power vacuum was going to be filled by somebody hostile to the United Stases. His base wouldn't give a crap, but the middle grounders would.


    The cold facts are that there have to be unpleasant consequences for taking potshots at American interested and citizens. The way to do that used to be called 'Gunboat Diplomacy'; assorted third world potentates know that if some bunch of bandits operating in his territory took an American Citizen for ransom – or even somebody who could colorably claim to be an American Citizen – America would send a gunboat to shell something the Potentate cared about…like his head. It wasn't fair, it wasn't moral, it wasn't NICE…but OTOH everybody understood it, and it worked.

    Now Gunboat Diplomacy is seriously out of style. The Progressive Left would set up a HORRIBLE squawk if a Republican used it…and might even do so for a Democrat.

    Which is about the strongest recommendation for a foreign policy that I can think of.

  8. have written this before
    great great grandfather was in british east india company in the 1800's
    then the brits and the tsar were sparring over afghanistan
    not worth it no one has ever conquered them–who would want to and why?
    afghanistan is a graveyard of colonial hopes
    as above, the reward for osama and gunboat diplomacy work in uncivilized places

  9. While it was not on the radar when we first invaded the country, back in around 2010, American geologists discovered huge mineral deposits of iron, gold, copper, and, most significantly, lithium, in Afghanistan. We have now set up bases on the borders with western China, Pakistan, and several other countries, to keep them from attempting to take advantage of the minerals within Afghanistan. Between us protecting the production of opium, and the future of mining, we will not be leaving any time soon. We also have NATO helping us to enforce those borders, by the way.
    I am not saying this is a reasonable or good idea, just that it is why we are there. I found this from an article, but there are many other places to find information about the same thing.
    Afghanistan could become, according to The New York Times “the Saudi Arabia of lithium”. “Lithium is an increasingly vital resource, used in batteries for everything from mobile phones to laptops and key to the future of the electric car.”

    I have learned that nearly all wars that have ever been fought have had at the very minimum, some financial component. Often, it is the only reason for war, with other reasons being stated to hide the real reason.

  10. Wow – per the wiki article:
    From January to September 2012, the Afghan C-27A fleet flew only 234 out of 4,500 required hours

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