The US Army Criminal Investigation Command has announced that it is conducting an inquiry into allegations that portions of a $2.1 billion Pentagon contract may be going to pay “protection” money to Taliban and warlord groups in Afghanistan.
The allegations say that a US contractor, the Afghan Host Nation Trucking company ,is paying between $2 million and $4 million a week to insurgent groups to allow NATO supplies to pass through their territory without being attacked. If true it would mean US war funds are being funneled into the pockets of the insurgents the war is meant to fight.
Investigations into the allegation have been going on since last year through the House Subcommittee for National Security, but it is only recently that evidence has been uncovered that not only did the security for the trucking company pay off unaffiliated warlords, but actual Taliban leaders.
One of the security contractors, the Watan Risk Management firm, amounts to 600 gunmen overseen by a fair of cousins of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The group has often been hired to protect NATO convoys, but at least one trucking company executive said that his trucks had been attacked by Watan’s fighters after refusing to hire them.
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