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tv   Washington Journal 11272017  CSPAN  November 27, 2017 12:22pm-1:08pm EST

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>> as you can see, we are having some technical issues with the signal from the college of southern maryland and the form on the opioid epidemic with congressman steny hoyer. we are recording this program and will have it for you in its entirety later in our schedule. a look now at a discussion that took place this morning on "washington journal" about the situation in afghanistan. the afghanistan and pakistan bureau chief for the "washington post." howt us off by reminding us long the u.s. has been in afghanistan now and what is the current situation? guest: well, it has been 16 years since the taliban was overthrown and the u.n. brought in a new government, which in 2002.y took office
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the fighting was actually a bit but it did of again around 2005, 2006. we are really talking 11 years of intense conflict against the taliban insurgency. ups and downs. there have been a lot of difficulties getting the afghan defense forces in shape. the united states has sent militaryof dollars on aid, military troops being there, as well as aiding the government to simply support itself over these many years. the taliban are still hanging in acrossnd causing mayhem the country. now we have this new policy, what with a new president and new generals, trying to ramp
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things up in a way that has not been done in a while. we do not know how things will go. haul. will be a long it will be a tough battle. i do not think any american official, here or in washington, thinks otherwise. it is not an easy fight, and it is not over. host: how many u.s. troops are in afghanistan at this point? what are their current roles? what will be the biggest single challenge moving forward? i would not say how many there are today. it is supposed to go up to about $13,000 -- it is physical up to about 13,000. tois probably on the way 8000 or 9000 or more. they will particularly focus on recruiting and training and expanding the size of the afghan special operations forces.
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who are working a lot on counterterrorism, which means against the islamic state specifically. and also training them to work to fight against the taliban. another thing they are doing is trying to expand and professionalize the afghan air force. the united states has provided many aircraft. they are in the process of bringing in more than 150 black hawk helicopters to train afghan pilots to fly them in a combat field. and a number of other things. one thought is by adding more troops, they will be able to advise afghan troops at a more basic level and in the field, so to speak. it will be mostly advising and training rather than engaging in direct combat, but working much more closely at a lower level with afghan forces themselves. nother priority, which does directly involve the troops but is a top priority for both the
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afghan and the american governments is improve the leadership of the afghan military, particularly fighting corruption and poor management at the top of the afghan defense forces. plate. very full again, a remains to be seen how far it is going to go. certainly, the u.s. and afghanistan are very much on the same chart at this point. they have worked out this joint roadmap for the next several years, which they're are working very closely together on. ofthe last administration president karzai, there was not a good rapport the two governments have now. host: explained the stability of the government -- explain the stability of the afghan government. it is stable in the sense that i think it is not going to collapse tomorrow or the next day.
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by it has been really racked internal division. it has a lot of serious problems. as you may recall, when the government took office, it was not the result of a clean and clear election, it was the result of diplomatic negotiations essentially forced by the united states. that has not gone well. the two people in power have not -- gotten along. they have patched things up recently, but the divisions within the government and the political atmosphere surrounding the government is still quite fluid. there is tension. there is a lot of pressure. there is a lot of political machinations going on right now.
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everyone is in a pre-election mode, wondering what is going to happen. the current government essentially is no longer outlivede, because it its mandate. its mandate as a temporary joint government ended after two years. the parliament has also not been legitimate the last two years, has outlivedoo, its mandate. basically, you have both the executive and legislative branches of government not enjoying constitutional or legal legitimacy. there is a great deal of public lack of confidence and disillusionment in that situation. it will not collapse tomorrow, on track to to get transition to another government in the future. host: we appreciate this update and set up in afghanistan. we should point out you are in pakistan. there is this headline that you
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wrote -- antigovernment protests in pakistan enter a second day, but most are peaceful. what has been happening in pakistan and why is it significant? guest: what has happened is a religious group has launched some protests weeks ago against ,hings they did not like changes in a political law. we can go over those later. startedy, the protests several weeks ago and i was allowed to keep growing. stronger.ousandhighway the government is not doing anything about it. it has been forced by the supreme court to do something, so they sent in riot police early saturday morning. host: pamela constable is the "washington post" afghanistan
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and pakistan bureau chief. we are losing connection, but we >> a quick reminder that coming out this afternoon, the center for strategic and international studies will be having a discussion on private sector development in afghanistan. you can listen with the free c-span radio app. while we wait for that discussion to get underway, we will go back to this morning's "washington journal," where we spent the entire morning looking at the situation in afghanistan. afghanistan is john sopko, pecial inspector general for afghanistan reconstruction, sigar, thank you for joining us. how your office came to be and what the role is. a pleasure to y, be here and i admire you for
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putting on the three hours on is our longest serving war and we need more i think focus on it, that is very important. sigar, was tobacco sounding acronym created in 2008, and realized thatress we were spending a lot of money there. of idn't do a very good job overseeing how the money was spent in iraq, they created a agency, we are inspector audits, s office, we do criminal investigations, about 200 of us, we focus on afghanistan and we only focus on reconstruction. ne of the reasons congress did this is because we've spent more reconstruction in afghanistan than we've ever done anywhere in the world. e spent more money in afghanistan than we did on the entire marshall plan to rebuild war ii.fter world so congress assumed and i think
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correctly, they needed a special agency just to look at it and we've been in existence since then. ost: you put out regular reports, the latest from october 30, of this year, how often does put out 's office reports to congress? uest: we put out quarterly reports, plus we issue lessons reports on a regular basis and issue audits, investigations and inspection regular basis. host: what is summary of this report? what is new and different from the last one? uest: the quarter report signifies reconstruction from the last quarter, required to do set us up.tute that hat was important there, we focused on the classification issue, which was new, classified of information that has been unclassified before. focused on the casualty
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of territory unt under control by the afghanistan which is decreased since we est level started collecting data on that. on the e focused economic issue, the economy hasn't turned around for them, hey're facing a bulging population, they don't have jobs, they don't have the to omy, that is main for us report. host: we'll keep phone numbers the screen for john sopko, special inspector general for afghanistan and get a couple going in minutes. if you think the u.s. should afghanistan, call 202-748-8000. should hink the u.s. leave, 202-748-8001. fghan war veterans, 202-748-8003. been with this office six years now.
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guest: yes. host: how would you describe the the country currently as we head into 2018 by thetion to the effort u.s. and allies over the years to build up that country? guest: it's not a black/white issue here, there's a mix. of some success some failures. overall, the security situation has deteriorated over the six this that i've been doing job. lthough it stabilized into a better e now, we have a working relationship with the new afghan government, they're cooperative. they are interested in changing, they're interested in changing military and they're also interested in attacking the corruption, em of which is rampant throughout the to try and you're not going win there unless you deal with
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the corruption issue. they are serious about the problem, the 800-pound gorilla, which i think i was uote as saying before, in the room. here, the taliban and the insurgency gets most funding from the drug trade f. we don't do anything about that, we'll win. host: in the report, before we get to calls, you have status of here and headline connol reconstruction pipeline, $120 billion dollars afghanistan relief and reconstruction. you have a chart here breaking everything down. to our viewer what is we're looking at here and what significance is. guest: that particular chart ries to break down just the reconstruction number. if you look at the war fighting, figure think the higher you have quoted, comes from brown and harvard university, is about $sec700 billion.
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reconstruction, money spent to pay salaries of afghanistan and civil d police servants, that is to build oads, pay salaries of civil servants, build clinics etcetera, that is what that down tshows how much money is for security ssues, about $70 billion of that $120 billion goes to the police and the security forces military and then the rest aid, to humanitarian civilian operations or 2k3w06ernance. host: what is your sense coming the recent hearing on the house side where congress is on afghanistan right now and how it views the current effort there? guest: it is hard for me to congress. all of i was a subcommittee of a very important subcommittee of a very important committee of the oversight and government reform committee in the house. and rom talking to members think even talking to the
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citizens, i think there is war eariness, weariness about the money question about when it will end and question of when we it now we're cautiously optimistic with new strategy that we're get it i think that strategy is more realistic, based upon what is the fwround, on the ground right now, rather than i itrary time lines, which think this was accurate strategy.of prior host: does the sigar's office in a report you put out, have any connection to the white house? his is written for congress, but does the white house read the reports? do they act on anything? take recommendations? guest: oh, i can't speak for the but i can itself, speak for the administration, the reports go to the various as well as look at, congress. so secretary of state, secretary agency se, any other work nothing afghanistan. they do read them.
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they do respond and i think cautiously optimistic, as a matter of fact, very happy, in he last six months, the reaction that the department of efense has had toward many reports. secretary mattis issued a policy the senior all of leadership based upon one of our dealing it was a report with camouflage uniforms, which decided and we may have wasted millions of dollars on. it we're getting a big response, positive response, secretary dunford -- excuse me, joint chief, e general dunford, in recent testimony commented how they use information. the one thing we author is we institutional memory. a lot of the agencies don't anymore. and people serve nothing afghanistan, some have gone tours, but many
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months, nine months, a year at most, we have people or three yearsgo and our agency has been around while, relying on institutional memory. ost: lots of calls coming in for john sopko, special inspector general for afghanistan reconstruction. chris, you are up first from katy, texas, good morning. aller: great, thank you for taking my call. i have a couple questions in regard to drug trade and the deposit necessary afghanistan. the government narrative since this isn't war, this is a -- not a war choice, a necessity, both presidents bush and obama were referenced 9/11 and i think it important to note that the
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timing of military action in afghanistan, as you know, came 9/11.ys after since 2001, production of -- has increased providing 90% of the nonpharmaceutical grade opiates of the world. world market, so that originated the world market originated in central an, in europe, etcetera.sia, deposits, including huge veins cobalt, gold, , among others, you know, to note critical ndustrial metals like lithium, been said that afghanistan characterized as saudi arabia of lithium. karzai claims upward of 30 trillion, quantity that would mining revenue by factor of approximately 60%. these are my questions. you characterize the situation a stalemate. does that not indicate that our
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going operation there is according to plan and in terms as ar, is this not business usual? it seems we have military on the assets,there, protecting protecting opiate fields and ther countries, like china, mining assets and using cheap labor to benefit global trade the united states. host: chris, thank you for for ng. calling. john sopko. guest: first of all, i don't do policy, i do process, but i can upon my experience and experience my office and we're looking at -- actually doing lessons learned report on how we got into afghanistan and the that, gy and planning for seen no evidence that we went to proveanistan either he skurj of e on t openium. there is no evident of that. say that much. as far as why we went in on
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minerals, we the have gotten very little, if nything, from the minerals or we call extractives which can natural gas. so that, again, we have found no have seen nothing that would corroborate that. to develop the xtractive industry so that the afghan people will do better. so they can start exporting other than ut, in response to the implication that there's a aware operation, i'm not of any. host: you mentioned you don't do process, to that caller and several other callers talkedprogram so far, we opium, and processing plants there, does that action
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the processprocess, of understanding what is going on there? well, look. the stated policy is done by the policy makers. can ok at how you effectuate and succeed on that policy. the government gives us policy, you can do it. when you talk about narcotics, on this for harping years, in fact, you're never win the war if that is your objective, on the taliban their funding. our sources and government ources and other experts we've dealt with have said and now nicholson, 60% of the funding from taliban comes from that. got to do ating, you something about it, if your objective is to win with the taliban. now, whether you should do bombing or maybe you should use
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processes that the policy makers will decide on. are glad that general nicholson has the authority and it and we're glad equally important, that the willing to nment is direction, too. so the prior regime in afghanistan was not interested in confronting narcotics and unless you've got a cooperative government, you will direction, on narcotics. washington, what is your name? caller: it's stevie, how you doing? ahead, sir. caller: good morning, thank you for taking my call. morning.od caller: i want to echo chris' undthe impression religious/11, taliban doctrine did not allow drugs or alcohol. they not n, weren't opium growth in
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taliban area? they are doing to finance it it.ause they can't get primary financing was pakistan and iran and iraq and different trying to play their own political games within the taliban. so now we're being told that the the ones -- the opium issue? marketing plan from the insurance industries right from the start. narcotics, now they have ot major portion of america hooked on opioids through the and now offices mostly being told it is a different story. correct me if i'm wrong, was the against drugs and opium l and taliban allow growth in controlled regions before 9/11? my only question. you.: thank let's hear from our guest. guest: for a brief period, the
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taliban stopped the production opium. i think they did it for political reasons, they wanted by the ecognition international community. the taliban was the government, could raise funding or money through various and sundry they did for brief eriod there, right before the attack of 9/11. host: how powerful is the taliban today? about the land it has taken back, do you want to put it that way? the : well, that is one of significant findings of our latest quarterly report. the taliban have increased, this i will say - largest, most control they have over the country, we identified quarterly report this year. it's hard to identify because areas they control, districts they control and then
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districts they have influence on. likewise, same thing for the government. data ght now, i think our is that as of august, 2000 17, 54 districts under insurgent control, increase of six districts over the last months. so about 3.7 million afghans, the population. now live in districts under influence.ontrol or north korea general nicholson wants to retake that territory in two years, realistic? eked guest: it could be done, it will be a hard job and a hard task, new strategy on that and he has additional training and he has additional authorities, so we are, again, cautiously optimistic. we will -- my job is basically referee, i'm here to see what happens and report on it,
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best and him the we're optimistic. eather to mark in whitehall, pennsylvania. good morning, mark. caller: good morning, hello mr. doing?opko, how you want to give you a call. far are a few issues, as as i get my information from like different college keep my s and try to eyes open, different things like that. let's see, there was clinton supposedly wined and dined the taliban, according to lehigh valley, to get transfer fees for the tappi pipeline. into ing to take a sedway the nobel prize winner that says today's wars are only fought resources and then want to get into the department of defense, okay, i'm there was 9/11, which going to be frank, i don't
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believe it was what we were told. i believe the conspiracy was the one that we were shown on t.v. lies elsewhere, but i will not get into that. also another thing, the department of defense, okay, so then if we're going to be there for 15, 20, 30 years, might as well be called because i of offense, also watch c-span pretty much as far as terrorist attacks in this country, very slim. on corporate lot media, a lot of breaking news and shootings and things like is not the taliban over here. o if you look at the stats on terrorist attacks, you'll see really aren't re any, so there is a lot of fear media, ithing corporate let me emphasize that again. host: mark, let me jump in, your point.g question for our guests
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specifically? mean, why yeah, i stay over there for -- forever ever? we don't want to top vietnam, that was bad enough. naturally we don't have the anymore, but i mean, as far as i'm concerned, why don't let the countries, if they want to wheel and deal with in and stuff like that centrcent oil, why do we have to be over there proving we will use cohergz? mark, we get the point, want to move on to other callers sopko? guest: mark, these are good questions, you should ask policymakers, the administration congress. i don't do policy, i do process. he policy stated by every administration since 9/11, we're going in there to find people and i beg to s isagree, mark, i actually do think it wasn't a grand conspiracy, we were attacked and
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in to find the people who did that and we went in help create a host government, an afghan government that could continue to keep the errorists out of that area, would not be used to attack us again or attack any allies. that is the stated goal, general mattis and as the has stated recently. we support that goal. host: harris calling from florida, for john sopko. good morning. caller: good morning, three real short questions. okay. caller: i read his report quarterly and in fact, it's in me.t of how many is, you met casualties there are? why do you admit that? if you have any idea what casualty caused by our
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-- the national government. has alwaysour report andsfnlieucritical of of that, you are saying that going to cholson is change the course of the war over there f. we give them $70 a year and they can't even carry a gun, what is the use? policy matter, in your assessment, why does general nicholson so dependent on that? nyour own process of in your writing the report, do you get military hat the u.s. or go free cranking over there with backpack and start check og things and thank you very much. host: thank you for calling. the first point first, how do you do your work? guest: well, we work with the military, the military will
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provide security for us when we field.into the we also get security from the department, so we don't embed, per se, but they provide can.rity where they but we're limited because of the fact, y situation, in very insecure, we don't just backpacks on and wonder around the country, we take security very seriously. doing that, we also have civil society trainedtions that we've and use them. we also use satellites where we data from other people operating in the country. have 30 ow we work, we or 35 people there full time all the time. oversight e largest resence of any government agency. so that's one question. spent a year,lion i don't want to confuse the
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listener or your audience, when talk about 120 billion or the that's from 2001 to date. what we are spending just on reconstruction here and i think we noted in the quarterly, is we spend, have about 7.42 billion been pipeline, that has uthorized, appropriated, but not spent and spend 5 to 6 billion a year, we assume will on pent this year reconstruction, not $70 billion per year. i think there was a question how general nicholson. ost: wanted clarification on civilian casualties. guest: we cite, we don't have data, we were citing u.n. organization which collects dat on a regular basis and very trustworthy, there, ly, organization able to get out to a lot of places we don't.
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was a 52% that there ncrease in civilian casualties from pro government, that is coa scompligz afghan era operations months.irst nine verall, the number of casualties have decreased a bit this quarter, but those caused afghans and coalition forces increased a little. host: more about your work, headline in the washington examiner and elsewhere classification of data, u.s. classifies data as taliban made gains, the piece u.s. military the arply restricting information that the independent pentagon watchdog can make the key measures in the war, they're talking about your office here. on? is going guest: well, this quarter they started classifying a lot of that we had been
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previously reporting publicly years. and some of the -- that includes the afghans, force readiness,perational attrition figures, and even number of women they have in police.litary and and we again, don't do lassification, we were concerned by this classification. our concern is that this is we are sification and strong proponent of transparency, we feel that the you, the eople, taxpayer, should know how your money is being spent. this, we can't tell if we're winning or loses, that money is being used or wasted. e strongly objected to this latest round of classification. writtenre is memorandum by the search director to you
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bout all of this, about classified or restricted information, you can see here. read this report publicly and if so, where? quarterly report is public, it's available on our and that's quarterly il, the report. all of our reports, unless or otherwise would implicate security issues, all reports are available on the website. host: we have 30 minutes left with our guest, john sopko, for al inspector general afghanistan reconstruction. back to your calls and debra is chickapea, massachusetts, good morning. caller: yes, good morning. want to focus on what mr. sopko just said, we can't tell losing.we're winning or okay, that just goes to the heart of the problem.
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is not about afghanistan. u.s. s about the five weapons dealers who make a rillion dollars a year in selling weapon systems to the hot zones and we're in a hot zone. there is a reason for that, selling those weapon systems and those come back and kill our troops and two, you said that you of only quote the amount money for reconstruction, well, six billion, but what else are we spending our money troops from being that we by the weapons sell to pakistan, saudi arabia, countries? you know, the american people are beginning to realize that there for a reason, but they don't know why and this is
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reason, because we need to lockheed martin selling weapons so the people who work for them in this country will salaries, but they make huge profits. i have to say, it's very simple to figure this out. you're just there, you know, as rest of creen for the it, for what is going on there. being killed are by the weapon systems that we're to these middle east countries. host: that was debra. sopko, your reto that? than a hope we're more smoke screen that, is obviously the caller raised issues going my nd my jurisdiction and
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country. again, we give facts on reconstruction, the other inspectors generals, who are said if the people have the facts, we will be free. that is what this is all about. host: paul is calling from new york city. good morning. caller: thank you for your work. you did a very interesting report which indicated there were these planes that were built from italy, that cost about half $1 billion. wondering, was anyone ever punished for that? it seems so incredibly outrageous. the amount of money being spent
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in a country that had a very ,mall of economy to begin with you would've seen a lot more that one of come out of it. would have come out of it. you mentioned how long this war is going on in town to money has been spent. money has been spent. how do we think about that much money being spent in that kind of a small economy? host: thank you. mr. spokopko. i could tell you someone was punished on the purchase of those airplanes, purchased out of a boneyard in italy. the planes couldn't fly. investigationoing
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that we can't really discuss. audit we initiated and hopefully we will be able to answer the question. i get angry when i see money like that wasted area we will get to the bottom of that -- like that wasted. the will get to the bottom of that. we will identify why the taxpayers lost so much money. ask for another issue you had -- as for another issue you had there, accountability -- no one is ever held accountable for wasting money in our reports. testified, weave are not holding people accountable. why is that? to, we haveoes back a lousy human resources system.
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the problems we see and afghanistan are not because -- in afghanistan are not because of the soldiers, the foreign service officers, the eight officers. -- the aid officers. it is not that they are evil or stupid. we give them a box of broken ls, and -- broken too those tools are the same tolls yousee -- the same tools see that all the other agencies are using. troops ison of busted. how we reward people. the reward system is upside down.
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what we do and afghanistan and in the united states, domestically. officers contracting for how much money we put into contracts, not whether the contracts are good. you are not going to punish a guide for spending $500 million on airplanes that don't fly. he probably got a promotion. that is the whole system. we have to address the bigger issues, we just see them on steroids in a war zone like afghanistan. poster.u brought this about? the hotline guest: how we get information about cases. this is something we really appreciate. afghanistan, and
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also in the united states, where people call the hotline. that is how we get information. laurel,are from jeff in -- let's hear from jeff in laurel, mississippi. during the charlie wilson war time, afghanistan broke russia. now they are going to break us. i am seeing american soldiers walk through the opium fields. they don't mess with them. what's wrong with back? that?t's wrong with and what about the millions of dollars to the state department
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under hillary clinton's watch watch?ou -- cliton's thank you. i don't know what the caller is referring to under clinton. the opium issue, we haven't had a strategy, and not a building government in afghanistan until the recent -- and not a willing government in afghanistan until the recent government. the opium problem is a difficult problem. we haven't had much success in addressing drugs anywhere. to address the narcotics problem, it is going to be difficult. we didn't have the will to do anything. host: good morning. caller: good morning.
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i have one question. i am very familiar with afghanistan. i have been around it. it is a dry country. there is very limited water available. palms are close to the area they have water. why can't we pay the farmers who cultivate opium so they don't populated and get -- populate it and get money in advance? it is a little more difficult than that. there are a lot of areas that are arid, but they do have some water. we have helped them build canals, but it is not as easy


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