After 15 years of failure and undefined missions in Afghanistan, this administration claimed to finally have discovered an innovative idea. Let’s invest even more American lives in propping up the Afghan security forces, they suggested, as if we weren’t doing that for the past 15 years. But who are the Afghan forces, and how are they really distinguishable from the Taliban, or at least enough to justify the human and capital cost of a deeper investment? A new inspector general report paints a grim picture of the recipients of our blood and treasure.
The number of soldiers getting wounded and dying in our aimless mission has been creeping up in recent months, as the U.S. ramps up a mini-surge in the country and plans to double our troop level. Just yesterday, the State Department announced that “multiple American citizens were killed and injured in weekend attack on a Kabul hotel.” But we refuse to learn the lessons of the past – that you must hold ground on behalf of a stable ally in order to make the investment worthwhile. Now, a new report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the latest in a series of devastating revelations about the Afghan forces and government for which we are bleeding, reveals that there are rampant allegations of sexual abuse committed by members of these very Afghan forces.
While the report recognizes that “the full extent of child sexual assault committed by Afghan security forces may never be known,” two-thirds of those interviewed by the IG’s team confirmed “child sexual assault incidents or related exploitation by Afghan security forces.” The New York Times reported on “rampant” sexual assault of children back in 2015. This is a culturally accepted practice in the country, known as “bacha bazi” (boy play). This prompted members of Congress to ask the IG to conduct an investigation into whether the Pentagon is violating federal law by funding the Afghan security forces.
The premise of this investigation is that if indeed these behaviors are rampant, any funding of the Afghan military would violate the Leahy law, which prohibits taxpayer funding for forces involved in “serious” human rights abuses. According to the report, we have spent $71.2 billion on Afghan forces, not including the hundreds of billions spent on the broader rebuilding of the country on behalf of these same forces in power.
Recognizing that we are not going to accomplish anything in the region that hasn’t been accomplished in 1200 years and that, unlike other terror groups and state sponsors of terror, the Taliban really doesn’t pose an existential threat, top military leaders are trying to sell this investment as a mere advisory role to the Afghan forces. They claim that the “notwithstanding clause” of the Leahy law allows them to continue funding the pedophiles because it is in our national security interests. But how can anyone on earth suggest at this point that it is in our national interest to get our special ops forces killed fighting for these corrupt Islamic actors in an effort to put together a country that is ungovernable and doesn’t affect us?
As the New York Times reports, several highly decorated Green Berets were relieved of command for beating up child rapists in Afghanistan in recent years, which was part of a broader policy of remaining silent about the nature of the “allies” we were fighting for.
This report follows other findings from SIGAR that the Afghan military is weaker than ever before, that casualties are mounting, that “insider attacks” (from these same pedophiles) are increasing, that we wasted hundreds of millions on stimulating the Afghan economy, and that numerous Afghan soldiers have gone AWOL on our soil when brought here for training.
At a time when we see widespread corruption at the highest levels of the FBI and DOJ in order to protect a political agenda, isn’t it time Congress investigated what our military brass are covering up in order to continue the Afghan racket and endanger the lives of our soldiers for nothing?
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.