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USA is finally out of Afghanistan

ghazi52

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Executions will return, says senior Taliban official


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Nooruddin Turabi, not pictured, said punishments such as amputations were "necessary"

BBC

The Taliban's notorious former head of religious police has said extreme punishments such as executions and amputations will resume in Afghanistan.


Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, now in charge of prisons, told AP News amputations were "necessary for security".

He said these punishments may not be meted out in public, as they were under previous Taliban rule in the 1990s.

But he dismissed outrage over their past public executions: "No-one will tell us what our laws should be."

Since taking power in Afghanistan on 15 August the Taliban have been promising a milder form of rule than in their previous tenure.

But there have already been several reports of human rights abuses carried out across the country.

On Thursday, Human Rights Watch warned that the Taliban in Herat were "searching out high-profile women, denying women freedom of movement outside their homes [and] imposing compulsory dress codes".

And in August, Amnesty International said that Taliban fighters were behind the massacre of nine members of the persecuted Hazara minority.

Amnesty's Secretary-General Agnès Callamard said at the time that the "cold-blooded brutality" of the killings was "a reminder of the Taliban's past record, and a horrifying indicator of what Taliban rule may bring".

Days before the Taliban took control of Kabul, a Taliban judge in Balkh, Haji Badruddin, told the BBC's Secunder Kermani that he supported the group's harsh and literal interpretation of Islamic religious law.

"In our Sharia it's clear, for those who have sex and are unmarried, whether it's a girl or a boy, the punishment is 100 lashes in public," Badruddin said. "But for anyone who's married, they have to be stoned to death... For those who steal: if it's proved, then his hand should be cut off."
These hardline views are in tune with some ultra-conservative Afghans.

However, the group are now balancing this desire to appeal to their conservative base with a need to form connections with the international community - and since coming into power, the Taliban have tried to present a more restrained image of themselves.

Turabi, notorious for his harsh punishments for people caught listening to non-religious music or trimming their beards in the 1990s, told AP that although harsh forms of punishment would continue, the group would now allow televisions, mobile phones, photos and videos.

Turabi - who is on a UN sanctions list for his past actions - said the Taliban's cabinet ministers were now discussing whether or not punishments should be public, and that they would "develop a policy".

Back in the 1990s, executions were held in public in Kabul's sports stadium, or on the vast grounds of the Eid Gah mosque.

At the time Turabi was justice minister and head of the Ministry of Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice - the Taliban's religious police.

"Everyone criticised us for the punishments in the stadium, but we have never said anything about their laws and punishments," he said in the latest interview.

Earlier this week, the Taliban also requested to speak at the UN General Assembly, which is being held in New York City.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that while it was important to communicate with the Taliban, "the UN General Assembly is not the appropriate venue for that".
 

ghazi52

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India also finally out of Afghanistan....

Picture from #Kunduz airport, Afghanistan. In the background of the Taliban fighters is the Mi-35/Mi-24V attack helicopter (Serial 123) of the former Afghan Air Force, given to them by India.
It was earlier deemed unusable by Indian media because of no rotors..



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ghazi52

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Afghan Convoy At Landi Kotal, Khyber Pass, 1919, (c).


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Larry Bain
Not much changes then - led my aid convoys down there in the mid 90s.
 

ghazi52

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Hundreds of billions were spent by the US in Afghanistan. Here are 10 of the starkest examples of 'waste, fraud and abuse'

By Nick Paton Walsh, CNN
October 7, 2021



(CNN) Half a billion dollars of aircraft that flew for about a year. A huge $85 million hotel that never opened, and sits in disrepair. Camouflage uniforms for the Afghan army whose fancy pattern would cost an extra $28 million. A healthcare facility listed as located in the Mediterranean Sea.

These are part of a catalog of "waste, fraud and abuse" complaints made against the United States' reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan -- an effort totaling $145 billion over 20 years -- made by the United States' own inspector general into the war. But the in-depth audits detailing these findings have, for the most part, been taken offline at the request of the State Department, citing security concerns.

The total cost of the war, according to the Pentagon, was $825 billion, a low-end estimate: even President Joe Biden has cited an estimate that put the amount at over double that -- more than $2 trillion, a figure that factors in long-term costs such as veterans' care. The interest on the debt runs into hundreds of billions already.

The $145 billion reconstruction effort lacked oversight, leading to Congress to set up the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) in 2008. SIGAR published quarterly reports that gained less attention at the time than was commensurate with the expenditure they addressed, critics said, and were sometimes denied the information they needed by the Pentagon -- especially when it came to assessing security in the country.

A State Department spokesperson told CNN they had asked SIGAR to "temporarily" remove the reports, owing "to safety and security concerns regarding our ongoing evacuation efforts." They added SIGAR had the authority to restore them "when it deems appropriate."
What follows are 10 notable cases, stripped of identifying details, collated by CNN over the years.

1) Kabul's winter blanket

The Tarakhil power plant was commissioned in 2007 as a backup generator for the capital, in case electricity supply from Uzbekistan was compromised.

A vast, modern structure, it ran on diesel-fueled turbines, supplied by a brand-name engineering giant. There was one catch: Afghanistan had scant diesel supply of its own and had to ship the fuel in by truck -- making the plant too expensive to run.

The facility itself cost $335 million to build, and had an estimated annual fuel cost of $245 million. The most recent SIGAR assessment said at best it was used at just 2.2% capacity, as the Afghan government could not afford the fuel. USAID declined to comment.

Traffic passes by the Tarakhil power plant in September 2011.


Traffic passes by the Tarakhil power plant in September 2011.

2) A half-billion-dollar fleet of cargo planes that flew for a year

Afghanistan's fledgling air force needed cargo planes. In 2008, the Pentagon chose the G222 -- an Italian-designed aircraft designed to take off and land on rough runways. That first year, according to a speech made by SIGAR's chief John Sopko, citing a USAF officer, the planes were very busy.

But they would not be sustainable. The aircraft were only noticed by SIGAR when Sopko noticed them parked at Kabul airport and asked what they were doing there.

Six years after the procurement was launched, the 16 aircraft delivered to Afghanistan were sold for scrap for $40,257. The cost of the project: $549 million.

3) The $36 million Marines HQ in the desert, neither wanted nor used

Sopko said in a speech this 64,000-square foot control center in Helmand epitomized how when a project starts, it often cannot be stopped.

In 2010, the Marines were surging troop numbers in Helmand, the deadliest part of Afghanistan. A command and control center on the main base of Camp Leatherneck was ordained as part of the effort, although Sopko recalled the base commander and two other marine generals said it was not needed as it would not be completed fast enough.


Sopko said the thought of returning the funds allocated to Congress was "was so abhorrent to the contracting command, it was built anyway. The facility was never occupied, Camp Leatherneck was turned over to the Afghans, who abandoned it."

It cost $36 million, was never used, and seems to have been later stripped by the Afghans, who also never appeared to use it.

Major Robert Lodewick, a DoD spokesman, said in a statement the SIGAR report contained "factual errors," objected to how it implied "malfeasance" by some officers, and said the $36 million figure included ancillary costs like roads to the HQ.

US Marine MSgt. Charles Albrecht watches a construction crew working on a massive new base at Camp Letherneck, Helmand province, in March 2009.


US Marine MSgt. Charles Albrecht watches a construction crew working on a massive new base at Camp Letherneck, Helmand province, in March 2009.


4) $28 million on an inappropriate camouflage pattern

In 2007, new uniforms were being ordered for the Afghan army. The Afghan defense minister Wardak said he wanted a rare camouflage pattern, "Spec4ce Forest," from Canadian company HyperStealth.
A total of 1.3 million sets were ordered, costing $43-80 each, as opposed to $25-30 originally estimated for replacement uniforms. The uniforms were never tested or evaluated in the field, and there is just 2.1% forest cover across Afghanistan.
In testimony, Sopko said it cost taxpayers an extra $28 million to buy the uniforms with a patented pattern, and SIGAR projected in 2017 a different choice of pattern could have saved a potential $72 million over the next decade.
DoD spokesman Lodewick said the report "overestimated" the cost, and "incorrectly discredited the value of the type of pattern selected," adding a lot of the fighting in Afghanistan occurred in verdant areas.

5) $1.5 million daily on fighting opium production

The US spent $1.5 million a day on counter-narcotics programs (from 2002 to 2018). Opium production was, according to the last SIGAR report, up in 2020 by 37% compared to the year before. This was the third-highest yield since records began in 1994.
In 2017, production was four times what it was in 2002. A State department spokesperson noted "the Taliban have been the primary factor contributing to poppy's persistence in recent years" and "that the Taliban have committed to banning narcotics."


A tractor eradicates opium poppies in Nangarhar province in January 2007.


A tractor eradicates opium poppies in Nangarhar province in January 2007.

6) $249 million on an incomplete road
An extensive ring road around Afghanistan was funded by multiple grants and donors, totaling billions during the course of the war. Towards the end of the project, a 233-kilometer section in the North, between the towns of Qeysar and Laman, led to $249 million being handed out to contractors, but only 15% of the road being built, a SIGAR audit reported.
Between March 2014 and September 2017, there was no construction on this section, and what had been built deteriorated, the report concluded. USAID declined to comment.
7) $85 million hotel that never opened
An extensive hotel and apartment complex was commissioned next to the US Embassy in Kabul, for which the US government provided $85 million in loans.
In 2016, SIGAR concluded "the $85 million in loans is gone, the buildings were never completed and are uninhabitable, and the U.S. Embassy is now forced to provide security for the site at additional cost to U.S. taxpayers."
The audit concluded the contractor made unrealistic promises to secure the loans, and that the branch of the US government who oversaw the project never visited the site, and neither did the company they later hired to oversee the project. A State department spokesperson said they did not manage the construction and it was "a private endeavor."
8) The fund that spent more on itself than Afghanistan
The Pentagon created the Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO) expanded from Iraq to include Afghanistan in 2009, for whose operations in Afghanistan Congress set aside $823 million.
Over half the money actually spent by TFBSO -- $359 million of $675 million -- was "spent on indirect and support costs, not directly on projects in Afghanistan," SIGAR concluded in an audit.
They reviewed 89 of the contracts TFBSO made, and found "7 contracts worth $35.1 million were awarded to firms employing former TFBSO staff as senior executives."
An audit also concluded that the fund spent about $6 million on supporting the cashmere industry, $43 million on a compressed natural gas station, and $150 million on high-end villas for its staff.
DoD spokesman Lodewick said SIGAR did not accuse anyone of fraud or the misuse of funds, took issue with "weaknesses and shortcomings" in the audit, and said "28 of TFBSO's 35 projects met or partially met their intended objectives."
9) The healthcare facility in the sea
A 2015 report into USAID's funding of healthcare facilities in Afghanistan said that over a third of the 510 projects they had been given coordinates for, did not exist in those locations. Thirteen were "not located in Afghanistan, with one located in the Mediterranean Sea." Thirty "were located in a province different from the one USAID reported."
And "189 showed no physical structure within 400 feet of the reported coordinates. Just under half of these locations, showed no physical structure within a half mile of the reported coordinates." The audit said that USAID and the Afghan ministry of Public Health could only provide "oversight of these facilities [if they] know where they are." USAID declined to comment.
10) At least $19 billion lost to "waste, fraud, abuse"
An October 2020 report presented a startling total for the war. Congress at the time had appropriated $134 billion since 2002 for reconstruction in Afghanistan.
SIGAR was able to review $63 billion of it -- nearly half. They concluded $19 billion of that -- almost a third -- was "lost to waste, fraud, and abuse."
DoD spokesman Lodewick said they and "several other U.S. Government departments and agencies are already on record as having challenged some of these reports as inaccurate and misleading" and that their conclusions "appeared to overlook the difference between reconstruction efforts that may have been mismanaged willfully/negligently and those efforts that, at the time of the report, simply had fallen short of strategic goals."
 

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