US gives millions to the Taliban

A new report out of Washington estimates that around $360 million in US military money went into the hands of enemy insurgents in Afghanistan, including the Taliban.

A special task force put together by General David Patraeus has estimated that more than a quarter of a billion dollars in US funds trickled into enemy hands while the American military attempted to support combatants and reconstruct war-torn Afghanistan towns. Through several faulty contracts, says the report, millions intended to be used for good instead found its way to the enemy and those with enemy-ties.

While the US spends billions in foreign contracts, the $360 million figure found by Patraeus’ task force comes as an alarming figure once it comes clear that the funding trickled from the US government all the way to the Taliban. Contracts also indirectly led to funding with “criminals and local power brokers” with ties to the Taliban as well, reports The Associated Press.

According to task force documents that the AP obtained, they report that US funding in Afghanistan begins as “clean monies,” but through “reverse money laundering” becomes tainted “either through direct payments or through the flow of funds in the subcontractor network.”

In all, the task force reviewed around $31 billion in active US contracts. Of the $360 million gone to insurgents, the AP says that more than half went through one contractor in particular, Host Nation Trucking.

In all, nearly three dozen subcontractors worked through eight companies of prime contractors in order to transport food, water, fuel and ammunition through the Afghan regions to American troops. While such transport is typical to move goods across areas, the task force’s report reveals that contracts, at times, sub-let their services to unjust organizations with criminal ties.

While heading troops in Afghanistan last year, Patraeus had issued a memo in which he advised commanders to “know those with whom we are contracting,” in hopes of avoiding the fueling of corruption, insurgency and criminal activity.

That warning, however, proved to be too little too late. The AP reports that HEB International Logistics of Dubai, a contractor affiliated with Host Nation Trucking, paid $1.7 million to a warlord who oversaw all business transactions between some of the largest cities in Afghanistan. Upon digging deeper into the probe, that contractor, listed in the papers as only “Rohullah,” charged upwards of $1,500 per US vehicle to transport military supplies between Kandahar and Kabul.

Rohullah, while not directly tied to the Taliban, is said to have channeled money to them at times, reports the AP.

Further investigation by The Associated Press reports that not all of the $360 million or so went to the Taliban, but trickled down through profiteering, bribery and extortion by criminals.

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