Where has America's cash gone in Afghanistan?
News that the CIA has been dumping 'ghost money' there for years just compounds the bitter truth about ingrained corruption.
Uncle Sam has spent more than $400 billion over 10 years to bring peace and democracy to a country that has historically had neither. More than 2,000 Americans have been killed and 16,000 have been wounded so far in Afghanistan. Sadly, the U.S. has had precious little to show for the return on its investment, either financial or human.
About 30% to 50% of the Afghan economy is based on the opium trade, so corruption is quite pervasive. A 2012 Atlantic article noted that "billions in U.S. aid funds have been misappropriated." The Times report notes that Iran has funneled money through Karzai's office as well, which raises the question of what the U.S. is getting for all its efforts.
The people of Afghanistan sure aren't benefiting.
According to a report released earlier this year by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, half of Afghan citizens reported in a survey that they had paid a bribe while requesting a public service. It pegged the total cost of bribes at $3.9 billion, which has increased 40% in real terms between 2009 an 2012.
"While corruption is seen by Afghans as one of the most urgent challenges facing their country, it seems to be increasingly embedded in social practices, with patronage and bribery being an acceptable part of day-to-day life," according to the U.N. report.
Karzai's term ends in 2014, when the U.S. combat mission is set to officially end. What happens then is anyone's guess. But one thing's for sure: Afghanistan doesn't just have "ghost money" -- it's an all-too-real financial haunted house.
Follow Jonathan Berr on Twitter @jdberr.
Whoever would have thought that a country like Afghanistan with all its warlords and antiquated government would ever embrace anything except what they have now. The US should have seen that nothing would change because there is just too much money to be made from drugs and investments from foreign countries such as the US. It was a pipe dream to start with and continues to be to this day.
When hostilities are over, it will be a short time before everything is back to where it was. The warlords will be in charge, the women will be wearing whatever the Taliban is telling them to wear, girls will be forbidden to attend school, and killing will continue just as it has since men traveled their routes, selling their wares from one village to another. The people are a hearty group that will survive because that's all that they have ever done. Who was it that said that it was going to be a democracy? Not in our lifetime.
WONDER WHO THEIR NEXT PRESIDENT WILL BE FOR US TO GIVE MONEY TO ? OH WAIT WE DONT HAVE ANY AH BETTER GET SOME MORE FROM CHINA.............. A JR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT IS SMARTER THAN THESE PEOPLE RUNNING THIS COUNTRY INTO THE GROUND I MIGHT ADD
WHAT THE U.S MUST DO IS DECLARE WAR ON THE USA , SO WE CAN SPEND THE MONEY HERE INSTEAD OF SOME WAY ELSE, FIGHT AGAINST DRUGS,CRIME,ETC ETC,BUILD ARE ROAD AN INFRASTRUCTURE, I`AM SO ANGRY IN WHAT I HEAR EVERY OTHER DAY , AN YET WE`RE BLIND, I BELIEVE IN USA WAKE UP AMERICA ,I MISS YOU.
GET RID OF THESE POLITICAIANS THAT ARE NOT WORKING FOR US,FIND PEOPLE WHO WILL.
I`M GETTING OLD WE CAN DO BETTER. I LOVE THE USA..................
Hmm let's see Taliban take over Afganistan and are told by DEA to curb opium crops. This fits with Taliban religion which forbides drug use.
Taliban in 1999-2000 is on cover of Time magazine as having stopped opium crops in Afganistan.
The US invades and opium crops become the single largest crop in Afganistan and this year is a record breaking crop.
Remember the CIA and Oliver North and the drugs for weapons for Iranian hostages deal Reagan put together???
Seems like our money went to securing the drugs for the CIA
That is why Bush said Mission Accomplished the drugs were flowing once again along with the oil.
We never learned anything from the British and Russian misadventures in that country. And remember this was part of the Bush-Cheney legacy, they started it with no end game considered whatsoever !!!
After we are pretty much out of there it will revert as it always has. It is a tribal culture and always will be.
why not bring them over here so we can give them some milk and Honey.....
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A basic income policy can actually ensure a decent standard of living for everyone.
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