Recently, I heard a homily from a Catholic Priest who highlighted the universal adage, “money can’t buy love or happiness.” Sadly, we now know, with certainty, money alone could not purchase peace in Afghanistan. Partnering with an international crime syndicate masquerading as a government engaged in pervasive corruption was a fool’s errand…I would say criminal.
Tragically, the biggest source fueling the corruption in Afghanistan was the United States via fraudulent U.S. contract activities such as: bribes and/or cash payments to corrupt Afghan officials,drug lords, bankers and thousands of others by our CIA. How do I know? I was the lead Homeland Security official in Dubai where most of the money was laundered. Unfortunately,diplomatic pressure on the UAE Government from the U.S. State Department & Treasury to stem the flow of dirty Afghan money failed.
The United States Government estimates its deconstruction efforts these past 20 years has cost $300 million per day and nearly 2,500 U.S. military lives. According to the General Accounting Office the, United States also supplied various military equipment to Afghan police and military to include but not limited to: 208 aircraft, 2,000 bombs, 1,400 grenade launchers, 20,000 hand grenades & reconnaissance equipment. Within the last 24 hours, the DOD Spokesman admitted that the department has no idea where this equipment is currently located within Afghanistan.
On January 17, 1961, President Eiesnhower warned the American people in his farewell address to the nation, “Be aware of the military industrial complex…” His main concern was that military industries (defense has cost military Office, the contractors) would exert an undue influence on government policy to widen profits. Trillions of dollars were allocated and spent for Afghanistan Reconstruction with little to no positive results.
In a July 30, 2021, quarterly report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, (SIGAR) to Congress two key findings were presented. NOTE: This U.S. government agency was/is tasked to be the lead agency to conduct audits and investigations to identify fraud, waste and abuse relating to reconstruction contracts for Afghanistan.
1. “The Risk of Doing the Wrong Thing Perfectly” “That is, programs could be deemed “successful” even if they had not achieved or contributed to broader, more important goals – such as creating an effective Afghan security force and a stable Afghanistan.”
2. “One of the Report’s Central Themes“ “The pervasiveness of overoptimism.” The report examines why the Afghan security forces have continued to struggle despite the U.S. assertions of success.
It is worthy to note, during this reporting period, SIGAR’s criminal investigations resulted in only two (2) criminal informations or prosecutions and two (2) guilty pleas of U.S. Citizens. SIGAR’s total staff is 174 employees with only five (5) staff members and five (5) Afghan nationals assigned to the U.S. Embassy
in Kabul. To date, SIGAR’s prosecution(s) focuses predominantly on U.S. citizens/officials.
In December 2009, while still functioning as the Homeland Security Attache in Dubai, UAE, I was asked to lead a group of Special Agents from Homeland Security Investigations into Afghanistan to train Afghan police, customs and other officials in how to prevent dirty money from being laundered or “cleaned.” Within a few years, billions of dollars of cash had been smuggled into Dubai by corrupt Afghan officials, bankers and various organized crime groups involved in smuggling drugs, precious metals/gold and weapons. The expanding cultivation and smuggling of heroin put the entire U.S. and international investment in the reconstruction of Afghanistan at risk, and jeopardized any achievements the U.S. had made related to social issues, including health, education, women’s rights and the rule of law.
As I documented in my book, SWITCHED ON – THE HEART & MIND OF A SPECIAL AGENT, I was asked during this training to provide a lecture on corruption and how necessary it was to remove it, or it would metastasize and destroy their country. When I completed my session, one of the highest ranking customs officials at Kabul Airport raised his hand not to ask a question, but to lecture me through an interpreter. In front of dozens of colleagues, with a voice of General Patton he stood and stated, “If the U.S. Government wanted to stop corruption, we needed to target senior Afghan government officials, not him or his associates in the room.” I knew he was correct. Ironically, it was widely reported how the CIA was perpetuating corruption with cash payments to the Afghanistan President’s office for over a decade. Then President Hamid Karzai at the time, acknowledged that bags of cash were delivered by the CIA for “various purposes” to his office. Interestingly, Karzai and many other Afghan officials were not just receiving payments from the U.S. but,from Iran and certainly other nations. Furthermore, after a multi-year money laundering investigation of Mohammed Zia Salehi, a close associate to then President Karzai, by Afghan and U.S. officials, a decision was made to arrest him in Afghanistan with the knowledge of Karzai. Unfortunately, within hours he was ordered released by President Karzai. It turned out Salehi was the CIA “bag man” receiving cash for Karzai and others. In twenty years, the Afghan Government failed to prosecute any senior government officials for money laundering or corruption.
U.S. administrations throughout this twenty year period have escalated the war in Afghanistan, and Congress approved billions of dollars for government contracts to support the war efforts. All had promised to crack down on corruption in Afghanistan, but it was all political grandstanding for all parties involved. Essentially, the U.S. Government made deals with the devil (corrupt Afghan officials, drug smugglers, arms traffickers, bankers, terrorists, etc.) We believed these criminals would assist us in the war efforts. We were sadly mistaken and allowed the CIA to hand out hundreds of millions of dollars like drunken sailors to “bad guys” with no accountability keeping the country of Afghanistan in turmoil.
The United States failed to understand that fighting corruption, which we were fueling, was not just a
humanitarian cause or hyperbole. Fighting corruption was key to winning the war. Inevitably, lost due to greed and incompetence by senior U.S. Government officials within the White House, DOD, State & CIA.
“Are we on the verge of WWIII?” Countries such as Iran, Pakistan, China, and other nations are aligning with the “new” Afghan/Taliban government. Will we now capitulate to the Taliban and other Afghan terror organizations who are now well equipped with sophisticated U.S. military weapons, free to move with impunity with a global terror reach?
I believe that obtaining global peace and security is now jeopardized for generations to come.