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The U.S. Military Was No Match for Afghanistan’s Corruption

• http://www.slate.com, By R. Jeffrey Smith
 When President Obama met top NATO officials in Brussels on March 26, he publicly expressed renewed optimism that America’s estimated $120 billion effort to reconstruct Afghanistan will leave behind “a stable and secure country that serves the prosperity and the security of the Afghan people.”

A month earlier, however, a group of senior U.S. military officers rendered a much harsher judgment in private about the legacy of the 12-year U.S.-led intervention. The officers concluded in a report for the Joint Chiefs of Staff that Afghanistan’s ability to serve its citizens’ needs remains directly threatened by a deeply entrenched culture of corruption that not only defied the West’s intervention but grew substantially worse because of it.

The report, written by a division of the Joint Staff assigned to draw lessons for the future, was based on dozens of interviews with government officials and experts—including 11 flag or general military officers—and its judgments were approved by top commanders, according to a spokesman.

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