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
Italian NATO soldiers stand ready on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq, File)

(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."

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