KABUL—American officers deployed as mentors in Afghanistan’s main military hospital discovered a shocking secret last year: Injured soldiers were routinely dying of simple infections and even starving to death as some corrupt doctors and nurses demanded bribes for food and the most basic of care.
U.S. Gen. William Caldwell IV pinned a medal on a soldier last year at an Afghan military hospital where patient neglect was found to be common.
The discovery, which hasn’t previously been reported, added new details to longstanding evidence of gross mismanagement at Dawood National Military Hospital, where most salaries and supplies are paid for by American taxpayers.
Yet the patient neglect continued for months after U.S. officials discovered it, as Afghan officials rebuffed American pressure to take action, multiple documents and testimonies viewed by The Wall Street Journal show.
The way senior Afghan officials tolerated such deadly graft shows just how deeply rooted corruption has become in President Hamid Karzai’s administration, as well as the limits of Washington’s ability to rein it in. American advisers have since forced an improvement in conditions at the hospital…
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