NEW YORK: An influential Congressman has charged the Bush Administration of not adopting correct policies, as a result of which the Afghan Army remains incapable of standing on its own feet despite the fact that more than $15.6 billion has been spent on it in the last six years. While the (US) President and his Administration don’t seem very adept when it comes to strategy, either having one or implementing one, the Bush Administration is very good at spending money, lots of it and mostly on guns,” said Congressman Gary Ackerman, Chairman of the Sub-Committee of Middle East and South Asia of the House Foreign Relations Committee.
It is Ackerman who chaired a meeting of House Foreign Relations Committee when the visiting Afghan Foreign Minister, Spanta addressed the members early this week. “Over the past 6 years, the United States has spent $15.6 Billion on training for the Afghan National Army and Police, yet the army is still incapable of operating on its own and the police are so bad that most Afghans are more afraid of them than they are of the Taliban,” Ackerman charged.
Similarly on Pakistan, Ackerman said the money given to it post 9/11 to fight terrorism, is being used for other purposes. The Bush Administration has done nothing about it, he added. In Pakistan, over the same six year period, the Bush Administration has provided $1.5 Billion in Foreign Military Financing and $5.56 Billion in Coalition Support Funds, he said.
Pakistan has used this money to buy radars, and anti submarine planes to track the non-existent Al Qaeda air force and navy and the latter disappeared into the Pakistani Treasury for unspecified services allegedly rendered, he alleged. Yet Pakistani officials complain, and have done so to me directly, that they lack the capabilities and training to conduct effective counter-insurgency operations,” he said.
“So we shouldn’t be too surprised that the GAO supports that claim and found that: “Pakistani security forces lack counterinsurgency capability”; that the Pakistani Army “is neither structured nor trained for counterinsurgency”; and that “serious equipment and training deficiencies exist in the Frontier Corps.”,” he said. What did the Bush Administration spend all that money on? If the situation weren’t so dire and our need for success not so absolute, I’d suggest that additional appropriations to security forces in either nation was throwing good money after bad,” Ackerman said.-SANA