Millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars were being foolishly wasted paying for the salaries of non-existent “ghost” soldiers and policemen in Afghanistan under the Obama administration, but no more.
According to the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, John Sopko, who recently sat down for an interview with Sharyl Attkinson of Full Measure, the ongoing problem may have been worse than anyone realized, but was being addressed by President Donald Trump’s Pentagon.
“We’ve been raising this concern about ghosts going back a number of years,” stated Sopko. “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 reported in October that the fraud could have amounted to more than $300 million annually.
Asked if this indicated fraud had been taking place, Sopko replied: “Major fraud. And what’s happening is the commanders or generals or other higher officials are actually pocketing the salaries of the ghosts.”