- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said Wednesday he has begun a search for bogus “ghost workers” on the Afghan National Army’s payroll as U.S. forces prepare to leave the country.

John Sopko, the special inspector general for the Afghanistan reconstruction effort, said in a letter last month he was increasingly concerned that the U.S. was “unwittingly helping to pay the salaries of non-existent members” of the Afghan National Police.

Although the issue of “ghost workers” is not a new concern for Mr. Sopko’s office, he said he felt compelled to launch an “audit on the reliability of Afghan National Security Forces personnel data” and how that data is used to track of the payrolls of the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police.

“If there is significant ghost payrolling or other mismanagement of these funds, it is not only a waste of money, but reliance on inaccurate [Afghan National Police] numbers could undermine U.S. transition planning as we continue to withdraw troops from Afghanistan,” he said.