Thursday, March 12, 2015

1/2 of Afghan Customs Revenue is Stolen

One of the drawbacks to a reduced U.S./NATO presence in Afghanistan is that progress is slowed in many areas to include security, development, and governance. Advancement in these three areas are a key factor in the fight against insurgents. However, with the 'thinning up' of the advisory effort - pulling advisory teams (SFAATs) off the lower levels of the ANA, ANP, Afghan Border Police, customs border control points, and other government organizations we see corruption starting to become a larger problem. This is evident in the customs service of Afghanistan. Our advisors (from the military and the Department of Homeland Security's Border Management Task Force) are no longer looking over the shoulder of customs officials of the eleven border control points such as Torkham Gate and Spin Boldac. Customs revenue accounts for over 1/3 of the Afghan government's domestic revenue; however, half the customs proceeds never reach Kabul. With the departure of U.S. forces from the border posts the customs revenue collection has reached its lowest point in over four years. Read more in "U.S. Still Giving a Corrupt Afghanistan a Blank Check", The Fiscal Times, March 11, 2015. Read another article on the same topic in "Afghanistan Can't Manage Billions in Aid, U.S. Inspector Finds", Bloomberg News, March 10, 2015. Read a letter sent to General Lloyd Austin, commander of U.S. Central Command, by the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) that provides more information of the rampart corruption within the Afghan customs service.

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