Coalition plans to pull out of Afghanistan are being hampered by theft and fraud totalling nearly $1bn, The Independent on Sunday is telling us. It adds that "hopes of a timely withdrawal of British troops from the region have been dealt a critical blow by revelations about massive bank frauds which have forced donors to suspend vital international aid".
In a country that is possibly even more corrupt than either India or Pakistan, and where it is known to all but the blind, deaf and the stupid (i.e., most of our politicians) that the élites of Afghanistan have been enriching themselves at the expense of international taxpayers, this really can come as no surprise.
And where the people of Afghanistan see daily the lack of progress (being unable to read the ISAF press releases), knowing full well that the bulk of the aid money is being ripped off, the Taliban are seen by many as the only hope for the beleaguered country. Any idea that we are going to walk away, bands playing, to leave a settled, stable, country, is pure fantasy.
When we leave, as leave we must and will shortly, the money spent will have been wasted, the dead soldiers and the broken bodies and minds of the survivors a testament to the egos and stupidities of successive politicians and military geniuses who thought they could waltz in and make a difference without doing the homework.
Collectively, they should hang their heads in shame. But they won't.