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US trucking funds go to Taliban

US paying transportation contractors, who pay police, who bribe the Taliban for safe passage

Taliban gets us trucking moneyEnlarge
U.S. money set aside for trucking companies has turned up in the hands of Taliban insurgents who use the money to buy weapons. The money is first used by companies to bribe Afghani police for safe travel throughout Afghanistan. Then corrupt officials hand the money over to Taliban members. (Majid/Getty Images)

Pentagon officials admitted on Monday that cash from part of a $2.16 billion U.S. transportation contract ends up in the hands of Taliban insurgents on a regular basis, the Washington Post reported on Monday. 

Yet U.S. efforts to address the problem have been "slow and ineffective", partially because of the monopolization of the valued contracts and endemic corruption within Afghanistan. All eight of the trucking firms involved in the work remain on U.S. payroll. In March, the Pentagon extended the contract for six months, the Post said.

Last year officials announced the creation of a task force to crack down on misuse of funds by contractors, Reuters reported, some of who pay bribes to keep the Taliban from attacking their convoys. See GlobalPost - Are US taxpayers funding the Taliban?

Investigators found evidence: "of profiteering, money laundering and kickbacks to Afghan power brokers, government officials and police officers," the Washington Post said. 

In one cased, investigators followed a $7.4 million payment to one of the transport companies, which in turn paid a subcontractor, who hired another subcontractor to supply trucks.

The subcontractors then made deposits into an Afghan National Police commander’s account, in exchange for a guarantees of safe passage for the convoys. Then $3.3 million was withdrawn from the police commander’s account and transferred to insurgents in the form of weapons, explosives and cash bribes.

Spokesman Col. Dave Laplan said the discovery of the siphoned funds was part of this effort to tighten controls on contracts.

The U.S. is spending more than $6 billion a month in Afghanistan conflict. Seventy percent of all US weapons, food and supplies are trucked through these shady transportation contracts.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/afghanistan/110726/us-trucking-funds-go-taliban