“The likelihood that U.S. money is finding its way to the enemy as well as lining officials’ pockets — charges that Wardak says could be true for other transport contractors but not for his company — is “one of the many very important things that came to light” during last fall’s White House strategy review, an administration official said.
The problem extends beyond military supply transport to Afghan-provided security for reconstruction and other U.S.-funded projects, according to John Brummet, audit chief for the congressionally mandated special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, known as SIGAR.
“If you go to the U.S. Embassy, to USAID, to the Army Corps [of Engineers] and ask if they can assure that their money is not going to the Taliban, they’d be hard-pressed to say,” he said.
…Although security for trucks carrying U.S. military supplies around Afghanistan is considered a particularly lucrative source of extortion, the administration has not investigated it or even estimated its scope, according to several officials involved in Afghanistan policy, none of whom was authorized to discuss the issue on the record.
Congressional investigators who have opened a probe into the Defense Department’s $2.16 billion Host Nation Trucking (HNT) contract described what one called “willful blindness” on the part of a U.S. military that “likes having its trucks showing up and doesn’t want to get into the details of how they got there.”
2010-03-29 22:12:27 UTC