Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Washington Post: Taliban, Afghan Warlords on US Payroll

Today's article by Karen DeYoung is not surprising, but still sheds light on a serious problem in American strategy--i.e., we are paying our enemy to fight us:
The U.S. military is funding a massive protection racket in Afghanistan, indirectly paying tens of millions of dollars to warlords, corrupt public officials and the Taliban to ensure safe passage of its supply convoys throughout the country, according to congressional investigators.

The security arrangements, part of a $2.16 billion transport contract, violate laws on the use of private contractors, as well as Defense Department regulations, and "dramatically undermine" larger U.S. objectives of curtailing corruption and strengthening effective governance in Afghanistan, a report released late Monday said.

The report describes a Defense Department that is well aware that some of the money paid to contractors winds up in the hands of warlords and insurgents. Military logisticians on the ground are focused on getting supplies where they are needed and have "virtually no understanding of how security is actually provided" for the local truck convoys that transport more than 70 percent of all goods and materials used by U.S. troops. Alarms raised by prime trucking contractors were met by the military "with indifference and inaction," the report said.

"The findings of this report range from sobering to shocking," Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) wrote in an introduction to the 79-page report, titled "Warlord, Inc., Extortion and Corruption Along the U.S. Supply Chain in Afghanistan."
BTW, if Congressman Tierney's committee wants to check, I image that USAID-supported NGOs in Afghanistan and Pakistan may also be paying protection money to the Taliban...

In any case, here's a link to the PDF file of Cong. Tierney's report.