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Fuel Theft Becomes a Lucrative Business in Afghanistan: SIGAR

(Last Updated On: April 14, 2018)

At least $154.4 million in fuel stolen from either the U.S. military or the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), a U.S. watchdog has said in a released review of the management and oversight of fuel in Afghanistan.

According to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) report, due to the amount of fuel needed for military operations, along with the highly transferable nature of this commodity, fuel theft has become a lucrative business in Afghanistan, with at least $154.4 million in fuel stolen from either the U.S. military or the ANDSF.

“However, because U.S. officials usually detected that the fuel was being stolen only long after the theft began, it is likely that even more fuel has been stolen in Afghanistan,” the report read.

The SIGAR review noted that according to Defense Logistics Agency–Energy (DLA-E), the agency supplied more than 2.8 billion gallons of fuel to support U.S. military operations in Afghanistan at a cost of more than $13 billion from 2008 through 2016 fiscal years.

From 2010 through 2018 fiscal years, U.S. the Department of Defense (DOD) planned to spend $3.2 billion to supply fuel for the ANDSF.

“CSTC-A (The Combined Security Transition Command–Afghanistan) are supplying fuel to every corner of the country based on demands,” said the Afghan Defense Ministry Deputy Spokesman Mohammad Radmanish. “We are seriously engaged in the fight against corruption and there is no corruption.”

 The review said that as of March 2017, DOD estimated that the ANDSF would require approximately 108 million gallons of fuel annually.

According to the SIGAR review, CSTC-A estimates supplying fuel to the ANDSF for a 5-year period may cost nearly $2 billion.

This comes as SIGAR has conducted 70 investigations related to fuel theft in Afghanistan, which resulted in almost $32 million USD in fines, restitutions, and forfeitures, and $28.5 million USD in recoveries and savings. 

In addition, the SIGAR investigations have led to 40 convictions that included sentences totaling more than 115 years in prison and 53 years of probation.  According to SIGAR the investigations also resulted in authorities barring 176 individuals from military installations.

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