Fake Success: Fake Schools in Afghanistan, Courtesy of the U.S. Government

The schools in Afghanistan that our government claims to have built and run… don’t exist.

There is one major school that still kind of exists that was reported to be a wild success. It did start well.

Nearly four years later, water seeps through the leaky roof and drips onto students in this more than $250,000 construction. Doors are cut in half; some are missing altogether. There is no running water for the approximately 200 boys — and zero girls — who attend. But the school did enrich a notorious local warlord. In exchange for donating the land on which the school sits, he extracted a contract from the U.S. military worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But many others don’t exist at all according to BuzzFeed. The US government has claimed major educational successes in Afghanistan.

But a BuzzFeed News investigation — the first comprehensive journalistic reckoning, based on visits to schools across the country, internal U.S. and Afghan databases and documents, and more than 150 interviews — has found those claims to be massively exaggerated, riddled with ghost schools, teachers, and students that exist only on paper. The American effort to educate Afghanistan’s children was hollowed out by corruption and by short-term political and military goals that, time and again, took precedence over building a viable school system. And the U.S. government has known for years that it has been peddling hype.

Over a thousand schools built by the United States taxpayer (or rather, debt collateral, since much of public spending is simply borrowed money based on the fiction that future taxes will pay on the interest forever) don’t even exist as schools any more. “Provincial documents show that teacher salaries — largely paid for with U.S. funds — continued to pour into ghost schools.”

Then there are those that are still functioning in some capacity:

At schools America funded, the education provided varies wildly, from math and science to, at one school the U.S. military claimed it built, little more than memorizing the Qur’an in a cramped mosque.

One success reported by the story points out just how deeply American foreign policy has created our current terrorist problem:

When Afghanistan was occupied by the Soviet Union, the U.S. funded school curricula that were staunchly anti-Soviet but also infested with jihadi ideology that al-Qaeda and the Taliban later used against America. Since 2002, U.S. funding has largely replaced those teaching materials by flooding the country with new textbooks.

So from the beginning of the eighties until 2002, Afghanistan had American-provided textbooks teaching Islamic extremism. A generation later we are dealing with a much larger supply of the best anti-American terrorists money can buy, thanks to Uncle Sam.

So, in addition to the Pentagon losing over a billion dollars they can’t even account for, the Feds have been throwing money into non-existent or barely-existent schools that has often been lining the pockets of corrupt local warlords.

The Rare.US post on this story concludes:

So, there you have it: fewer schools were built than we were told. The ones that were built are dangerous. The numbers of students (especially girls) reported to us are massively inflated. And our government has figured out yet another way to accidentally donate to terrorists while giving Middle Easterners a (very understandable) reason to be angry at us!

Anyone ready for a new foreign policy yet?

I know I am.