25 July 2011, 17:43

The US military turns out to fund Taliban

The US military turns out to fund Taliban

While the US authorities and political leaders waste enormous amounts of time and energy looking for new enemies of the state, the real “bad guys” turn out to have nothing to do with Julian Assange, Bradley Manning or cyber criminals from Anonymous.

While the US authorities and political leaders waste enormous amounts of time and energy looking for new enemies of the state, the real “bad guys” turn out to have nothing to do with Julian Assange, Bradley Manning or cyber criminals from Anonymous. And their actions could be incomparably more devastating and embarrassing for America than the combined efforts of all the whistleblowers and hackers.  The latest military-led investigation concluded that corruption put US taxpayers’ money into the hands of Taliban. The unreleased report provides evidence that US transportation funds have been indirectly transferred to the Afghan insurgents under a $2.16 billion contract funded by the US. And, what is even more shocking, the contract with all eight trucking companies involved in a fraud was extended by Pentagon in March for six more months. This fact looks even weirder in the wake of the battle over spending and the escalating threat of the default.

According to the report, the military obtained “documented, credible evidence...of involvement in a criminal enterprise or support for the enemy” by four of the eight contractors. The investigators claim they found proof that the trucking firms that were supposed to move US military supplies across Afghanistan, got involved in numerous cases of money laundering, profiteering and bribes to Afghan power figures and insurgence leaders. Literally that means the military was spending US budget to support the corrupted contractors who paid militants to ensure safe passage of the truck convoys across Afghanistan. Neither Assange nor Anonymous could disclose information more embarrassing for the US military.

“This goes beyond our comprehension,” said Rep. John F. Tierney – a former chairman of a House subcommittee that charged the military of funding a blatant fraud, - “I would hate like hell to think my kid was over there” and the Taliban was “coming after them with something bought with our taxpayers’ money.”

The number of US troops in Afghanistan has more than tripled since Obama took presidential chair, so a serious amount of fuel, ammunitions and food supplies are needed. Most of them are brought by ship to Pakistan and then transported to the central military depots in Afghanistan to be trucked to hundreds of military bases across the country. Unlike the situation in Iraq, where the military had been using American contractors, local companies were chosen to perform most of the transportation tasks in Afghanistan. Only two of the eight prime contractors were considered US-owned. However one of them turned out to be founded by Hamed Wardak,  son of the Afghanistan Defense Minister.

While there is a temptation to blame the Afghan contractors, it would be naive to believe that American military officials, responsible for the contracts, are unable to assess the situation. And, even if they are, they should be kept, as far as possible, from taxpayers’ money.

“These people should be fired and sent home,” the senior defense official said of the military overseers. “The attitude is crazy — it’s okay to pay the enemy because then we have better snacks. I think everybody gets that now.”

The situation reminding of the shady business of the Vietnam-war era once again demonstrates that the US government still stubbornly refuses to learn from its own mistakes.

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