Khost Province: Afghan ‘Success’ Story Turned Failure

Growing Violence and Corruption, as Elsewhere, Takes Toll in US 'Model' Province

It is almost a cliche at this point to say that an influx of insurgents and rising local corruption is doing damage in Afghanistan, but the Christian Science Monitor is detailing how it has turned the Khost Province, which was one of the Bush Administration’s “model” provinces, into another disastrous failure.

It wasn’t that long ago that Khost was the rare quiet province along the Pakistan border, so much so that Forward Operating Base Chapman was selected as the home for a major secret CIA base. The base, which was attacked late last year, is just one of many examples of rising violence in the nation in general, and in Khost in particular.

CSM also cites Col. Viet Luong, who made headlines earlier this week noting that there was no way for the US military to secure the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, describing the overwhelming level of corruption in Khost. According to Luong, the top military official he was dealing with on arriving in Khost was corrupt, and after convincing the Afghan government to replace him, he was replaced with a “guy that was halfway illiterate.”

The rise of violence, the rise of corruption, and the decline in security is true across virtually the entire country at the moment, but it must be particularly irksome for officials that it is happening in Khost, which a few years ago could have been one of the rare “success” stories for a claim of progress. Now, with officials making vague claims of progress, it is one of those all-too-common examples of very real failure.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.