Taliban: Italy Paid Us Protection Money

Italian government denies bribing insurgents to leave its troops alone

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 16, 2009 3:17 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Italian secret services bribed the Taliban not to attack Italian forces in Afghanistan, according to both a Taliban commander and senior officials in the Afghan government. The accusations have sparked fury in France, which lost 10 soldiers in an ambush after taking over a district east of Kabul from the Italians. The French had misjudged the safety of the area because they were unaware of the secret payments, according to the Times of London.

American officials have refused to confirm or deny that they lodged an official complaint with the Italians last year about payments to the Taliban. The Italian government has furiously denied paying protection to the Taliban and threatened to sue the Times. The country's defense minister said the low rate of Taliban attacks on Italian forces was due to "the behavior of our military, which is very different compared to that of other contingents."

Italian NATO soldiers stand ready on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan.
Italian NATO soldiers stand ready on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq, File)
Italian Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa gestures during a Question Time session at the Italian Senate on the deployment of the country's armed forces in Afghanistan.
Italian Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa gestures during a "Question Time" session at the Italian Senate on the deployment of the country's armed forces in Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito, File)
Italian soldiers stand at attention during a changing command ceremony at the Provincial Reconstruction Team compound in Herat province west of Kabul, Afghanistan, last week.
Italian soldiers stand at attention during a changing command ceremony at the Provincial Reconstruction Team compound in Herat province west of Kabul, Afghanistan, last week.   (Getty Images)
« Prev« Prev | Next »Next » Slideshow
To report an error on this story, notify our editors.

NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS
Other Sites We Like:   The Street   |   HitFix   |   PopSugar Tech   |   RealClear   |   24/7 Wall St.   |   CollegeHumor   |   Barstool Sports   |   OK!