Investigators Probing US Money Flow to Insurgents

Monday, 21 Jun 2010 07:12 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

Criminal investigators are examining allegations that Afghan security firms have been extorting as much as $4 million a week from contractors paid with U.S. tax dollars and then funneling the spoils to warlords and the Taliban.

If the allegations are true, the U.S. would be unintentionally financing the enemy and undermining international efforts to stabilize the country.

The payments reportedly end up in insurgent hands through a $2.1 billion Pentagon contract to transport food, water, fuel and ammunition to American troops stationed at bases across Afghanistan. To ensure safe passage through dangerous areas, the trucking companies make payments to local security firms with ties to the Taliban or warlords who control the roads. If the payments aren't made, the convoys will be attacked, according to a U.S. military document detailing the allegations being examined by investigators.

The document says the companies hired under the Afghan Host Nation Trucking contract may be paying between $2 million and $4 million a week to insurgent groups.

Chris Grey, a spokesman for the Army Criminal Investigation Command at Fort Belvoir, Va., confirmed Monday that the inquiry is under way. But he said he would not provide details in order "to protect the integrity of the ongoing case."

One of the security firms under scrutiny is Watan Risk Management, one of the largest security providers in Afghanistan. Watan representatives allegedly negotiate or dictate the price for security in a given area, according to the document, and also issue warnings to trucking companies that are late in paying or refuse to do so.

A woman who answered the telephone at Watan's office in Kabul said the company would have no comment and hung up.

A congressional subcommittee chaired by Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass., conducted its own investigation into the trucking contract. Its report, released Monday, says the trucking contractors pay tens of millions of dollars annually to local warlords across Afghanistan in exchange for guarding their supply convoys.

"Although the warlords do provide guards and coordinate security, the contractors have little choice but to use them in what amounts to a vast protection racket," the report says. "The consequences are clear: Trucking companies that pay the highway warlords for security are provided protection; trucking companies that do not pay believe they are more likely to find themselves under attack. As a result, almost everyone pays."

The report also said the insurgents aren't the only beneficiaries. One security company told the subcommittee that it had to pay $1,000 to $10,000 in monthly bribes to nearly every Afghan governor, police chief and local military unit whose territory the company passed through.

The subcommittee is holding a hearing Tuesday on its findings.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said Monday that Tierney's investigation may have jeopardized the military's inquiry. Issa, the top Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said several witnesses who spoke to congressional investigators are now not cooperating with the Pentagon's criminal probe. He did not explain why.

The Host Nation Trucking contract is a critical component of the effort to keep more than 200 U.S. military combat outposts throughout the country stocked. Supplies are typically shipped through Pakistan to Bagram Airfield, the U.S. military's main hub in Afghanistan, and then on to the outlying bases.

Bribes and kickbacks are often part of the business environment in Afghanistan.

At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in December, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton acknowledged the long, rugged supply lines to landlocked Afghanistan through Pakistan's port city of Karachi offer numerous opportunities for fraud and corruption that pad the Taliban's accounts.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Pentagon: ISIS Fight Has Cost $424 Million Since August

Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014 21:04 PM

The United States has spent about $424 million fighting the Islamic State (ISIS) since an air campaign against the terro . . .

Former Washington Post Editor Ben Bradlee Dies at 93

Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014 20:10 PM

Former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, who oversaw the paper's coverage of the Watergate scandal that toppled Presid . . .

GOP: Obama Trying to Avoid Admitting Ebola Travel Ban Would Work

Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014 20:06 PM

Republicans on Tuesday slammed the latest travel restrictions by the Obama administration during the Ebola crisis, with  . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved