Widows of Afghan soldiers had to offer sexual favours to officers in order to secure the pensions reserved for their dead husbands, journalist Michael Tracey has reported. He cited comments made by a government official in 2017. The official is question is Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John F Sopko.
The government official was quoted as saying four years earlier, “One US officer watched TV shows like COPS and NCIS to learn what he should teach Afghan police recruits.” He said, “We heard horrible stories about the widows of Afghan soldiers. Who have to give sexual favours in order to get the pension benefits.”
Sopko also pointed to problems within the system, namely concerning morale, illiteracy, drug abuse and corruption. In response to a question, he said some soldiers’ widows have been forced to offer “sexual favors” to receive pension benefits.
Sopko said, “Would any American put up with that? So we’re trying to win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people. We first got to win the hearts and minds of the Afghan security forces.”
Sopko’s report that year documented extensive corruption among the ruling US-backed regime. “High-level corruption, such as that exhibited by some ANDSF leaders, is likely to promote lower-level corruption, as a culture of impunity starts at the top and then normalizes corrupt behavior within the entire system,” the report had said.
It stated, “Reports of corruption have been widespread and varied, including, but not limited to, participation in the drug trade, extortion, pay- for-position schemes, bribery, land grabbing, and selling US and NATO-supplied equipment, sometimes even to insurgents.”
The SIGAR in his latest report has mentioned the lessons that the US ought to learn from the 20 years of Afghanistan reconstruction effort. The report reads, “They are very expensive. For example, all war-related costs for US efforts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan over the last two decades are estimated to be $ 6.4 trillion.”
The latest report released earlier this month notes, “Widespread recognition that they go poorly has not prevented US officials from pursuing them.”