Afghanistan Weekly Reader: Officials Evade U.S. Anti-Corruption Efforts

Two U.S. government reports released this week paint a grim picture of security and anti-corruption efforts in Afghanistan. An investigation by the U.S. agency that oversees Afghanistan reconstruction found that Afghan officials are resisting efforts to track the billions of dollars in cash flown out of Afghanistan each year. Meanwhile, a Pentagon report determined that only one of the Afghan Army’s 23 brigades can operate without assistance from U.S. and allied troops. Congress has allocated over $50 billion in security aid to Afghanistan since 2001.

From ASG
Growing Momentum for Ending the War in Afghanistan

Afghanistan Study Group by Mary Kaszynski

The momentum in Congress for ending the war is a good first step toward a more effective strategy in Afghanistan, and a better plan for spending taxpayer dollars.

Despite U.S. aid, little progress in monitoring Kabul airport cash flow

Reuters by Susan Cornwell

Afghan officials are stonewalling U.S. efforts to help regulate the billions of dollars in cash being flown out of Kabul airport every year, a U.S. watchdog said in a report on Tuesday.

Pentagon Says Afghan Forces Still Need Assistance

New York Times by Elisabeth Bumiller

As President Obama considers how quickly to withdraw the remaining 68,000 American troops in Afghanistan and turn over the war to Afghan security forces, a bleak new Pentagon report has found that only one of the Afghan National Army’s 23 brigades is able to operate independently without air or other military support from the United States and NATO partners.

Taliban Popular Where U.S. Fought Biggest Battle

AP by Kathy Gannon

Nearly three years after U.S.-led forces launched the biggest operation of the war to clear insurgents, foster economic growth and set a model for the rest of Afghanistan, angry residents of Helmand province say they are too afraid to go out after dark because of marauding bands of thieves.

Panetta Visits Afghanistan to Discuss Troop Levels
New York Times by Thom Shanker

The president has made no decision, and a range of options are being prepared, officials said. The American counterterrorism force might number fewer than 1,000, part of an American military mission that would probably total no more than 10,000 troops, despite the desire of some officers for a larger force.

How Pentagon Employees Are Picking America’s Pocket – In Afghanistan

Politico’s The Arena by Michael Shank

We cannot forget, amid fiscal cliff fecklessness, that as taxpayers of this debt-funded fight we are sending nearly $10 billion every month to Afghanistan for the war (aka deconstruction) and post-war reconstruction efforts. Last year alone, American taxpayers accumulated well over $113.9 billion worth of debt so that this war could continue.

In Afghanistan, fewer resources can be better

Washington Post Letter to the Editor by Adam Cohen

That the United States has neither the interest nor the funds for a large-footprint approach to diplomacy and development in Afghanistan need not be cause for alarm. Fewer resources do not necessarily spell disaster, and they might make such outreach more effective.

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