KABUL — Senior Afghan and American commanders are celebrating following a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the Afghanistan National Army's Corruption Center of Excellence, sources confirmed today.
The Center, which will offer anywhere between one week to six months of course-work to soldiers depending on how much they bribe military officials, is being hailed as an incredible achievement for the country's military. The total cost of construction for the facility was $289.3 million, according to Afghan officials, or $472.3 million, according to American officials.
"This is a bright day for the future of Afghanistan," said Gen. Harir Noori, who will assume a 'dual hat' role as commandant of the school while also manning at least a few shifts per week in the Taliban combat operations center.
"I know that some may criticize this Center as a waste of money. That we have nothing left to learn about corruption,” Noori added. "But I'd just like to ask them: Just how much money are we talking about here?”
Borrowing its "center of excellence" namesake from the U.S. Army, the ANA Corruption Center of Excellence will certify enlisted soldiers and officers in how to more efficiently launder money, falsify reports, and inflate personnel numbers in order to take dollars sent from the United States and safeguard them under their mattresses at home.
The construction of the school follows other recent development projects in or around Kabul meant to help Afghanistan's military and civilian population. These include a a new Texas BBQ eatery to support a continued U.S. military presence in the country and a facility for a new Afghan battlefield tour business that will shepherd first sergeants and sergeants major to the sites where they were shot at when they were privates 17 years ago.
Dark Laughter and Lieutenant Dan contributed reporting.