MEDIA ROOTS- Since the federal government tends to refer to anyone in Afghanistan with a gun as member of the “Taliban”, it’s difficult to take stories from the corporate media about the Taliban at face value. However, the first official US military estimate of how much money the US has paid the Taliban through “reverse money laundering” since the invasion has been disclosed: $360 million.
Considering how any official Pentagon budget has always been the most conservative estimate when compared to independent analysis, it’s safe to say that this number is a gross underestimate of the true amount of funds the US government has paid to the “terrorists” we are supposedly fighting in the region. For more breaking down the logic of why the US funds the opposition to sustain the Afghan war check out MR Original – Afghanistan War: Resources for Endless Control.
ASSOCIATED PRESS– After examining hundreds of combat support and reconstruction contracts in Afghanistan, the U.S military estimates $360 million in U.S. tax dollars has ended up in the hands of people the American-led coalition has spent nearly a decade battling: the Taliban, criminals and power brokers with ties to both.
In a murky process known as “reverse money laundering,” payments from the U.S. pass through companies hired by the military for transportation, construction, power projects, fuel and other services to businesses and individuals with ties to the insurgency or criminal networks, according to interviews and task force documents obtained by the AP.
“Funds begin as clean monies,” according to one document, then “either through direct payments or through the flow of funds in the subcontractor network, the monies become tainted.”
More than half the losses flowed through a large transportation contract called Host Nation Trucking, the official said. Eight companies served as prime contractors and hired a web of nearly three dozen subcontractors for vehicles and convoy security to ship huge amounts of food, water, fuel and ammunition to American troops stationed at bases across Afghanistan.
The Defense Department announced Monday that it had selected 20 separate contractors for a new transportation contract potentially worth $983.5 million to replace Host Nation Trucking. Officials said the new arrangement will reduce the reliance on subcontractors and diminish the risk of money being lost. Under the new National Afghan Trucking Services contract, the military will be able to choose from a deeper pool of companies competing against one another to offer the best price to move supplies. The new arrangement also gives the U.S. more flexibility in determining whether security is needed for supply convoys and who should provide it, according to a description of the contract.
HEB International Logistics of Dubai, a Host Nation Trucking prime contractor, “made payments directly to malign actors,” one of the task force documents reads. In 2009 and 2010, an HEB subcontractor identified in the document only as “Rohullah” received $1.7 million in payments. A congressional report issued last year said Rohullah – whose name is spelled Ruhallah in that report – is a warlord who controlled the convoy security business along the highway between Kabul and Kandahar, the two largest cities in Afghanistan.
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© 2011 The Associated Press
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