Afghan Maj. Gen. Khanullah Shuja, commander of the 203rd Thunder Corps, Afghan National Army addresses soldiers. (Photo by Master Sgt. Alejandro Licea, 1st Armored Division.)

The U.S.-led effort to train Afghan troops and police over the past two decades has been an abysmal failure for the most part, said John Sopko, the exceptionally frank special inspector general for reconstruction in Afghanistan.

"The Afghan military – and particularly the Afghan police – has been a hopeless nightmare and a disaster," Sopko told lawmakers on Wednesday. "And part of it is because we rotate units through that aren't trained to do the work, and they're gone in six-to-nine months. I don't blame the military, but you can't bring in a Black Hawk pilot to train an Afghan policeman on how to do police work. And that's what we were doing — we're still doing."

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The 35th commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James F. Amos, the 17th sergeant major of the Marine Corps, Sgt. Maj. Micheal P. Barrett, and their staff, board a Ch-53 Sea Stallion helicopter at Camp Leatherneck, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Nov. 24, 2011. (U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Mallory S. VanderSchans)

U.S. government officials have a "disincentive" to tell the truth about the situation in Afghanistan, said John Sopko, the blunt-spoken special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction.

"We have created an incentive to almost require people to lie," Sopko told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday.

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(U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Luke Hoogendam)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - There has been a sharp drop in the size of Afghanistan's National Defense Security Forces in the past few months due to changes in the way troops are counted and an effort to reduce the number of so-called "ghost" soldiers, a U.S. government watchdog said on Thursday.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said in a report that ANDSF personnel size had gone down by nearly 10 percentage points in the most recent quarter compared to the previous trimester.

The number of ANDSF troops fell by nearly 42,000 compared to roughly the same period, between April and the end of June last year, the report said.

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A U.S. Marine with Task Force Southwest patrols through a village near Bost Kalay, Afghanistan (U.S. Marine Corps photo)

At the White House on Wednesday, President Donald Trump expressed intense dismay about ongoing oversight provided by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the U.S. government's main watchdog for the 17-year-long effort to rebuild the country.

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U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Sharida Jackson

Finally, a bright spot amid 17 years of war in Afghanistan: insurgent control of the country has started to diminish for the first time in nearly two years, according to a quarterly report to Congress from the Special Investigator General for Afghanistan Reconstruction published on July 30.

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New efforts to stamp out corruption among Afghan government officials and extricate the U.S. military from Afghanistan are going, well, terribly, according to a new report to Congress from the Special Inspector General Report for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).

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