Analysts blame lack of supplies to frontlines on scant oversight of contracts

Monday, 13 November 2017 03:29 Written by  Heart of Asia Read 56 times

The intricacy of procurement process, and lack of proper supervision of contracts after signing have caused delays in supply of food and other equipment to Afghan soldiers on the frontlines, military analysts stress, accusing the government of complicating the procurement process under the pretext of ensuring transparency in contracts.   

 

They say the contracts once signed are not properly monitored, an issue which has mostly hindered the supply of food to troops on the frontlines.

They believe the president's promises and latest decree were only intended to relieve himself of public pressure because no positive steps have been taken so far. 

Gen. Abdul Wahid Taqat, a military expert, said Afghan forces were faced with dearth of edibles besides weapons and ammunition on the battlefields, but there was no one to hear them. "Afghan forces are paying a high price for the wrong decisions of politicians, one of which is the establishment of the improper supply system of food and clothing by the government.”

Claiming that government leaders still did not know the actual amount of food, equipment and cloths allocated and delivered to soldiers, Taqat said when the president or other government officials came under pressure, they make empty promises.

Ismail Shariatyar, a political expert from southern Afghanistan, said the problem in supply of food and equipment to Afghan forces aggravated after the National Procurement Commission (NPC) was formed. "It has now become a common practice in southern Helmand and Kandahar provinces for soldiers to stay without food and even equipment for one or two days. It is because there is no properly system to monitor the supplies by contractors who also make deals with security officials in major cities and capital Kabul." 

Shariatyar also revealed that Afghan forces were also mostly kept unaware of their rights, or prevented from raising their voice. 

A security source also revealed to The Heart of Asia that the Ministry of Defense (MoD) had advised all soldiers not to talk to the media about their food and clothes. 

According to the source, the decision was made after a soldier complained about food in an interview with media following the collapse of Kunduz city last year. 

This comes as President Ghani has recently issued a decree about the oversight of food provision process and procurements of the police. In a press statement, the Presidential Palace has said that a joint committee comprised of representatives of the provincial administration and security organs should oversee the process so as to prevent the embezzlement of relevant resources and funds.