Afghanistan: Crime and Corruption With Our Tax Dollars

Written By: Sara Ledesma

Our colossal, on-going military and financial expenditure in Afghanistan was intended to yield democracy and stability. Despite throwing exorbitant financial and military resources down the bottomless ditch we call “the war on terror,” Afghanistan is no more stable than when we sent our first brave soldiers and wrote our first blank check. Why, with all the military might and formidable financial wherewithal of the number one superpower in the world, have we yet to make any progress toward the goals of stability and ‘democracy?’ Military resources are exhausted to the point of endangering national security, spending is so out of control we are bankrupting our national reserves and we are losing our mothers, fathers, sons and daughters in escalating numbers. Yet, we are still no closer to declaring our goals met and ending the massive hemorrhaging of our national treasury and our soldiers’ blood.

Since billions of our tax dollars are funding this epic fiasco, we have a right, and a patriotic duty, to ask what return we are receiving on our tragic investment. Violence levels mock our goal of stability. The recent sham of an election in Afghanistan is a glaring indicator we have failed miserably to institute any semblance of ‘democracy.’ By taking a closer look at our military strategy in Afghanistan, we can discern why we have yet to make a single step toward progress despite years of appalling waste.

Afghanistan is run by two brothers, both of whom enjoy unwavering U.S. military, political and financial support. Hamid Karzai is the official president of the country and controls the political state. His brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai is a tribal warlord who controls Southern Afghanistan with a mafia-like, iron fist. Reports from our own CIA, narcotics officials and military personnel describe a history of government collusion with Wali Karzai, including eight years of pay-offs from the CIA. Our government agencies pay Wali for such services as: intelligence, the orchestration of meetings with insurgent groups we want to convert to our side, and the renting of his properties to house U.S. military.

Despite the existence of long-held knowledge that Wali Karzai is involved in the 3 billion-dollar- a-year Opium trade, U.S. tax revenue is used to protect and enrich Wali. In addition to being a known heroin trafficker (the illegal drug made from Afghanistan’s Opium), allegations against the leader of the southern half of Afghanistan include: orchestrating mass election fraud to keep his brother illegitimately in power and playing both sides of the fence with U.S. and insurgent forces. Wali takes money from our CIA and military, then turns around and accepts bribes from Taliban smuggling their heroin through his territories. No doubt he then allows them to pass back through those same routes to smuggle weapons paid for with profits from that heroin. Wali Karzai uses his control of the bridges and pathways in Southern Afghanistan to profit off the heroin dealers who must pay to transport their contraband through the territory he rules. He has used his control of areas such as the Khyber Pass (to Pakistan) to create great wealth off those who traffic in contraband.

Wali Karzai has used the military crackdown on the heroin business in Afghanistan to increase his own influence and power. When our narcotics agents make an arrest of an Afghani drug trader, Wali himself steps in to fill the void, thus increasing his own share of the multi-billion dollar drug trade. Is it any wonder that with all the resources we are dedicating to stamping out the opium trade in Afghanistan, it still amounts to 15% of the nation’s GDP?
The drug trade is so entrenched in Afghanistan politics, the Obama administration recently pressured President Karzai to purge those with drug ties from his government and depose hi s brother from Southern Afghanistan. Not surprisingly, President Karzai has yet to do either. In fact, Ahmed Karzai’s running mate in the recent election, Mohammed Fahim, is a former warlord accused of drug trafficking.

Advocates of our current Afghanistan policy argue no one in Afghanistan is untainted by the drug trade or corruption. They claim it is a country run on an informal, back-channel system of survival of the fittest. From local police demanding bribes, to high-level political corruption and election fixing, conspiring with thugs and warlords is routine and customary. Everyone in Afghanistan is somehow compromised. Two cunning brothers, colluding to play our government for a fool and profiting by any means available—legal or illegal—are the perfect poster boys for politics in Afghanistan.

We partake in a corrupt system, reinforce it with our resources and complicity, and then have the audacity to wonder why we make no progress toward a legitimate, stable government in Afghanistan? If we participate in a soiled, perverted system, we cannot expect results that are free from taint and perversion. We say we are committed to destroying the lucrative drug trade which funds the death of our soldiers and undermines every goal we have in Afghanistan. Yet, Wali Karzai takes advantage of our hard work by capitalizing on any advances we make in prosecuting drug leaders, to enhance his own status as a drug king pin. Wali’s grip on the South (stronghold and sanctuary of Taliban forces) means anyone who passes through does so with his consent—which of course comes with the prerequisite kickback. Who is to stop him when he has the backing of the U.S. military and Drug Enforcement, as well as the political immunity granted him by his brother, the President of the country?

We are palling around with drug lords and corrupt politicians who care nothing for democracy, make a mockery of free elections and democratic principles and only value wealth and power. Our government is being manipulated by a pair of thuggish brothers who take our money, extol the virtues of democracy and diplomacy, then turn their backs and spit on everything democracy stands for. They engage in such widespread corruption, with well-known drug leaders and thugs, that there is no chance to earn the legitimacy that political and social stability requires.

In Other Words…the problem in Afghanistan is crime and corruption pay, and they pay with our tax dollars.

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