Iraqi army had 50,000 ‘ghost troops’ on payroll

AFP/Jiji/Reuters reports: Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi on Sunday announced that an investigation has uncovered the existence of 50,000 “ghost soldiers,” and promised a widening crackdown on corruption.

“The prime minister revealed the existence of 50,000 fictitious names” in the military, according to a statement from al-Abadi’s office issued after a session of parliament.

Ghost soldiers are enrolled men who do not turn up and fight but whose salaries go into the pockets of the commanders. The phenomenon has been associated with the collapse of the army during the Islamic State militants’ sweep through the north.

A parliament statement said al-Abadi scrapped the 50,000 jobs, equivalent to almost four full army divisions.

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