Afghan authorities have suspended the supply of fuel to police forces in Helmand province after having discovered evidence of theft on an industrial scale. U.S. Marine Captain Devin Blowse, the company commander at Forward Operating Base Delhi in the Garmser district of Helmand confirmed that, "There is an investigation still going on, but there was thievery … or at least a misallocation of a huge amount of fuel at the provincial level”.
The news comes two months after an investigation by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) revealed that the U.S. government’s $1.1billion fuel programme for the Afghan National Army required “immediate attention” after finding little evidence that the fuel was actually being used by the army.
At the time, SIGAR also announced an audit into the logistics systems of the Afghan National Police, believing that these were equally susceptible to corruption. Whilst the ISAF mission has been meeting its targets in terms of training and boosting the numbers of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), major doubts remain over the operational capabilities of the forces. Several recent studies, including the SIGAR report, have paid particular attention to the weak and unaccountable logistics networks which are supposed to deliver vital supplies to the police and army.
"No single commodity is as important to the reconstruction effort in Afghanistan as fuel, and no commodity is at such risk of being stolen or wasted," declared Special Inspector General, John F. Sopko. He added: "As the U.S. and its coalition allies withdraw and transfer security responsibility to Afghan forces, U.S. funded fuel will become even more vulnerable to waste through corruption and theft."
A further SIGAR report recently concluded that the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) had not recruited the necessary personnel, nor implemented sufficiently developed systems to sustain a national police force. It asserted that, still reliant on NATO funding and support, the probability that the MOI will be able to maintain the ANSF beyond 2014 is diminishing.
The SDA, in partnership with CIDOB, will be hosting a round-table event on the subject of Afghanistan in Brussels on Friday, 7th December 2012. For more information, please click here
Original Photo Source: Taken by Mateus - U.S. Army's photostream at Flickr.com