US spent $290 million per day in Afghanistan
September 14, 2021
According to a report compiled by Brown University, the United States spent $290 million every day for 7,300 days on its war efforts and nation-building projects in Afghanistan. According to the report by the university’s Costs of War project, this is how the United States ended up spending more than $2 trillion in Afghanistan over the last 20 years. According to the report, which was highlighted by several major US media outlets, the money helped “create a tiny class of young, ultra-rich Afghans,” many of whom began as interpreters for the US army and rose to millionaire status.
The “contract terms helped fuel a system of mass corruption that engulfed the country and, eventually, condemned its fractious democracy,” according to a report on the university’s findings by the US news channel CNBC. Despite the US’s efforts to rebuild Afghanistan, “it only took the Taliban nine days to seize every provincial capital, dissolve the army, and overthrow the US-backed government.” CNBC also stated. Ryan Crocker, a two-time US ambassador to Afghanistan, blamed America’s failure on post-9/11 corruption in an interview with the Pentagon watchdog SIGAR.
“The ultimate strength point for our efforts, you know, wasn’t an insurgency,” he explained. “It was the weight of widespread corruption.” Ambassador Crocker believes that the United States is to blame for much of Afghanistan’s corruption because it flooded the country with billions of dollars more than its economy could absorb. “You simply cannot put that kind of money into a very fragile state and society and expect it not to fuel corruption,” he said. Nonetheless, in the early years of the Afghan war, awarding government contracts to Afghan nationals was seen as an important component of the overall US counterinsurgency strategy.
According to the CNBC report, awarding contracts to Afghan nations “provides job training, builds support among local nationals, and can give the US a more sophisticated understanding of the local landscape.” Several of these Afghan millionaires began their careers as interpreters for the US military, and their loyalty was frequently the sole criterion for obtaining these defence contracts. On September 11, 2001, one of them was Fahim Hashimy, an English teacher in Kabul who was also hired as an interpreter when the US army arrived. Later, he founded a company that supplied goods and fuel to military bases.
However, Afghans were not the only ones who abused the American contracting system in Afghanistan. Supreme Group, based in the Netherlands, pleaded guilty to fraud charges in 2014 and agreed to pay $389 million in fines and damages, one of the largest penalties ever imposed on a defence contractor at the time. However, the vast majority of contracting fraud and corruption in Afghanistan went unreported and unpunished, according to the majority of reports published this weekend.
According to a Pentagon analysis, 40% of the $108 billion paid to contractors in Afghanistan by the US Defense Department between 2010 and 2012 ended up in the hands of the Taliban, the Haqqani network, organized crime rings, drug traffickers, or corrupt Afghan officials.