U.S. taxpayer money indirectly reached the Taliban under a transportation contract, according to an unreleased military report obtained by the Washington Post, the latest investigation to find that U.S. money may be reaching insurgents.
The military’s investigation of the U.S.-funded $2 billion contract, which was intended to support local Afghan business, linked several trucking contractors to profiteering, money laundering and kickbacks to Afghan power brokers -- which eventually reached the insurgents.
In one example, investigators monitored a $7.4 million payment to one company, which paid a subcontractor, who then hired other subcontractors to supply trucks. "The trucking subcontractors then made deposits into an Afghan National Police commander’s account, already swollen with payments from other subcontractors, in exchange for guarantees of safe passage for the convoys. Intelligence officials traced $3.3 million, withdrawn in 27 transactions from the commander’s account, that was transferred to insurgents in the form of weapons, explosives and cash," the Post reported.
While all eight of the trucking firms involved in the work remain on the U.S. payroll, a senior defense official told the Post that a “radically revised transport system” will be announced in a few weeks.
A separate report released Wednesday by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction also suggests that a lack of oversight and an Afghan government that refuses to rein in corruption has led to U.S. aid money misspent, embezzled, or passed into the hands of the country’s militants.