US 'Funding Taliban Protection Racket'

Congressional report slams corruption in Afghan supply chain
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Suggested by Disillusioned
Posted Jun 22, 2010 4:43 AM CDT
US 'Funding Taliban Protection Racket'
A US armored personal carrier vehicle escorts a convoy of trucks carrying US equipment in Kabul, Afghanistan.    (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)

(Newser) – Tens of millions of dollars are flowing from the Pentagon to Afghan warlords and Taliban leaders because of military outsourcing in Afghanistan, congressional investigators said in a report yesterday. Investigators say contractors trucking supplies to the US military pay whoever they have to ensure safe passage for their convoys, pouring cash into a "vast protection racket," the Washington Post reports.

The protection payments—which the Defense Department is fully aware of— are a "significant potential source of funding for the Taliban" and "dramatically undermine" the coalition's goal of reducing corruption in Afghanistan, the report charges. Investigators fault the Pentagon for having little to no oversight of the supply chain for US troops. (Read more Afghanistan war stories.)

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