My Day at the Bureau of Afghan Relief Funding (BARF)
A recent article by Brett Blackledge and Richard Lardner of the Associated Press detailed the controversy over Afghan Energy and Water Minister and former warlord, Ismail Khan. Khan, well known in the world of Afghan corruption, was apparently appointed by President Hamid Karzai in an effort to piss us off. It hasn’t worked.
Khan controls about 2 billion dollars in US aid. This is roughly the salary of 40, 000 American teachers we can apparently do without. But the problems associated with Afghan corruption doesn’t stop there—hence the need for BARF.
I learned all this in my visit with Dr. Peter Cowed at Barf’s small office complex, next door to General Petraeus’ secret bunker, under the Treasury Building. “Suppose we actually have to get 2 billion dollars in energy aid to the Afghan people,” said Cowed. “We must then calculate the true cost of our programs, by accounting for corruption losses through, for example, direct siphoning of money, ghost employee programs, and the ever popular “make work” employee programs of the Afghan agencies.” “A fundamental and by no means simple question,” continued Cowed, “is whether or not the corruption amounts to a simple percentage of the allocated resources, or is in fact more closely related with the total amount of the allocation.” “Simply speaking,” he continued, “if they steal 1 billion from a 2 billion allocation, how do we calculate what they will steal from a 3.5 billion allocation?” “Fortunately, said Cowed, “we have been able to learn a great deal from the well documented workings of the Illinois State Legislature and the Chicago Mayor’s office.”
Off the record, Cowed estimates that Khan reallocates, in one way or another, about 83% of the American funding, so that we must provide about 11.76 billion in initial funding for 2 billion to reach the Afghan people.
General Petraeus, who was kind enough to comment on BARF, strongly suggested that without their hard work, “there would be even less chance of winning this stupid war.”