Afghan Army Fuel Sold in Zabul in Major Embezzlement Case

Officials at an army corps base in Zabul province in southern Afghanistan illegally sold at least 300,000 liters of Afghan forces’ aviation gasoline at local markets, and then created a cover story that the fuel was lost in a rocket attack at their base, said sources.

Abdul Ghafoor Hotaki, the commander of Zabul garrison, and Sefatullah, the commander of the 2nd regiment of the Afghan Army’s Atal Corps, were allegedly involved in the sale. These two officials sold 300,000 liters of fuel that was kept in storage tanks reserved for the second regiment and was intended for use by the security forces, said sources from security agencies and from Zabul.

Another official allegedly involved in the selling of the fuel is Hekmatullah, the commander of a local forces group led by the NDS that are known as Mofreza forces, sources said.

The fuel was stored in a reserve area that belonged to a private contractor that sold aviation fuel to the army.

“The government’s fuel is sold because these people have become accustomed to embezzlement,” said Abdul Alim Kharoti, a Zabul resident.

“The government is damaged… that’s why there are many problems in this sector,” said Esmatullah Safi, a Zabul resident.

When the storage tanks at the 2nd regiment area were empty, those involved in the case detonated three magnetic IEDs to claim the tanks were damaged in a rocket attack and that the fuel was lost due to leaks, sources said. The attempt was made to mislead the newly appointed commander of the regiment. However, photos and video footage from the area show that the fuel tanks were damaged on the bottom, not the top.

“There might be some people who sell or purchase the fuel,” said Taoos Khan, a shopkeeper.

“The fuel is purchased by those who have the ability to buy it, or sell it,” said Mohammad Nabi, a shopkeeper.

Zabul officials did not comment on the matter. But a government spokesman said the matter will be investigated.

“It is an issue that needs to be investigated. Our first response is that we are not convinced, and we don’t think such an issue exists,” said ANDSF spokesman Omar Shinwari.

This is not the first time that fuel belonging to the security and defense forces has been sold. Reports also exist of the selling of arms and food belonging to army forces. Some officials have been put on trial for selling military resources.