Afghanistan’s former finance minister blamed the government’s demise on corrupt bureaucrats who created “ghost soldiers” and accepted money from the Taliban. The majority of the 300,000 troops and police on the government’s books, according to Khalid Payenda, do not exist. He said that phantom servicemen were added to formal records in order for generals to pocket their pay. In August, the Taliban gained control of Afghanistan when the United States withdrew after 20 years in the nation. Mr. Payenda, who quit and fled Afghanistan as the Islamist group advanced, claimed that documents claiming security personnel outnumbered the Taliban were inaccurate.
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