News - Afghanistan
Saturday, 04 April 2015 20:49 Written by Tariq Majidi
U.S officials expressed optimism about progress in curtailing corruption among Afghan security institutions this week.
Major General Todd Semonite, the Deputy Commanding General of the Combined Security Transition Command in Afghanistan, told TOLOnews on Saturday that corruption in contracts and public spending in recent months has seen declines from the past.
In an exclusive interview with TOLOnews, the American general has said that documented assessments indicate a positive change in corruption trends among military institutions in Afghanistan.
A day after the inauguration of the national unity government, General Semonite had called corruption one of the biggest enemies of Afghanistan, calling on international troops to help fight corruption, in addition to equipping and advising Afghan security forces.
General Semonite indicated he was honored to deliver the news to the people of Afghanistan that rates of corruption had decreased in the past three months, a stark contrast from the news more frequently heard in the past, that the country's leaders were exploiting their positions of power at ever-growing rates.
General Semonite added that his weekly meetings with the national unity government leaders had proven fruitful.
"Since President Ghani and Dr. Abdullah have created the unity government, the level of corruption is unknown and as a result I can't give you a number to somehow quantify that," General Semonite acknowledged. "I will tell you that, from over 400 inspectors and advisers that we have, the president and Dr. Abdullah have put additional control at all levels to be able to limit any potential corruption."
The senior American general also assured that despite the decrease in the number of foreign troops in Afghanistan, the financial commitments of NATO alliance countries are still strong, and with effective cooperation, the Afghan government and its allies will be able to bring peace to the country.
"I think the Taliban has to realize that there are very, very strong offensive forces in this country to be able to continue to defeat the insurgency, not just the Taliban, but there are also other elements that could be out there," Gen. Semonite said.
Touching on an important subject of discourse around the capabilities of the Afghan forces, the general praised the Afghan Air Force, which he said would soon be given new helicopter technology to enhance their operational effectiveness.
According to Gen. Semonite, approximately 5.3 billion USD is given to the Ministry of Interior and Defense annually.
Source : tolonews[dot]com