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“Ghost soldiers” of the Afghan army hampered fight against Taliban

The way in which the Taliban quickly conquered city after city, until they reached Kabul and took control of Afghanistan, has already been criticized by the former Afghan government and army. The army succumbed to the advancing Taliban, with many soldiers deserting.

However, the former Afghan finance minister emphasized that the actual numbers of soldiers and police were much lower than those in government records and that, contrary to popular belief, they were not much higher than those of Taliban fighters.

In an interview with the BBC, Khalid Payenda said that most of the country’s 300,000 soldiers and police did not exist and blamed those responsible for the security forces, which he accuses of having invented “ghost soldiers” and of being corrupt.

Payenda noted that “ghost soldiers” were added to official lists so that generals could keep their salaries.

“The head of a province could be asked how many people he had and based on that wages and food expenses could be calculated. These data would always be inflated”, said Payenda.

The former minister added that the figures may have been inflated more than six times and included “desertions and martyrs who were never counted because some of the commanders kept their bank cards” and raised salaries.

source: with agencies

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