Pentagon Report Concludes Taxpayer Money Ends Up in Hands of Taliban

Tuesday, July 26, 2011
(photo: AP)
After a year of investigation, the U.S. military has concluded what was already determined by Congress and the media—that at least some portion of a billion-dollar transportation contract in Afghanistan wound up in the hands of the Taliban.
At the center of the controversy is a $2.16 billion transportation contract funded with taxpayer dollars that was designed to help the military move its supplies around the country while promoting local businesses. But more than just Afghan truckers got paid through the U.S. government deal—so did insurgents (in the form of bribes to protect convoys) and corrupt police officers.
Of the eight Afghan contractors hired for the work, four were involved in “a criminal enterprise” or had provided “support for the enemy,” according to the Department of Defense report. The investigation also turned up cases of profiteering, money laundering and kickbacks to Afghan power brokers, government officials and police officers, according to The Washington Post.
Representative John Tierney (D-Massachusetts), who previously looked into the allegations as chairman of a House subcommittee, told the newspaper that the corruption “goes beyond our comprehension.”
Before that, The Nation reported that Afghan contractors hired by the Defense Department had paid bribes to the Taliban to keep them from attacking shipments along desolate highways.
-Noel Brinkerhoff


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