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Despite repeated warnings, US ‘subsidizing’ Afghan companies with ties to terrorism

warnings-us-subsidizing-afghan-terrorism_siAmerican taxpayers have unwittingly paid more than $150 million to companies throughout the Middle East that are known to have helped finance terrorist attacks on US soldiers stationed in Afghanistan, according to a new internal US government report.

At least 43 companies based in Afghanistan were found to have  ties to terrorist networks according to findings by the Special  Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the  leading US oversight authority on reconstruction in Afghanistan.  SIGAR’s report seems to suggest that the very groups being  targeted by the US through counter-insurgency operations  sometimes become the beneficiaries of the federal government  through contracted work.

It’s like the United states government is subsidizing the  Taliban, Al-Qaeda, the Haqqani network, those groups that are  trying to shoot and kill our soldiers,” Senator Jeanne  Shaheen (D-NH), a member of the Senate’s Armed Services and  Foreign Relations committees, told ABC News. Sheehan was among a  group of senators who wrote a letter to the Army in 2012   “expressing concern about where US dollars were going.

Perhaps the most notable example is a road construction company  partly owned by one of the leaders of the anti-American Haqqani  network. US lawmakers designated the Haqqani network as a foreign  terrorist organization in September 2012 after the Islamist  insurgent group was blamed for an attack on the US Embassy in  Kabul that claimed 16 lives in 2011.

A classified military investigation reportedly found evidence  that the company worked “in facilitation and operation of the  Haqqani network” and, as a result, “approximately $1-2  million per month flow[s] to Haqqani network to finance its  activities.”

A representative for the company told ABC News the construction  company was not involved with the Haqqani network and suggested  the military had mistaken it with another company.

Yet the Pentagon has refused to stop granting these companies  contracts, saying that such an action would violate the  companies’ right to due process. John Sopko, Special Inspector  General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, said he has encouraged  the Department of Defense to cut ties only to be rebuffed.

The reason they’ve given us is that it’s not fair to these  contractors that the evidence that we’ve presented, and this is  evidence collected by the United States government, is  classified,” Sopko said. “That’s the absurdity of it. We  can probably attack them via drone on Monday and we’ll send them  a contract on Tuesday.”

An Army representative refused comment to media outlets, pointing  reporters to a statement claiming the Army conducts an extensive  vetting process and claims it takes allegations of terroristic  activity very seriously.

I am deeply troubled that the US military can pursue, attack,  and even kill terrorists and their supporters but that some in  the US government believe we cannot prevent these same people  from receiving a government contract,” Sopko wrote in a  previous report to Congress as quoted by ABC. “I feel such a  position is not only legally wrong, it is contrary to good public  policy and contrary to our national security goals in  Afghanistan.”

A similar SIGAR report from earlier this year blamed the funding  issues on sloppy contracting regulations and a number of US  officials who simply refused to believe the evidence they were  presented with.

That report, published in April, identified a long and  complicated process in which “millions of contracting dollars  could be diverted to forces seeking to harm US military and  civilian personnel in Afghanistan and derail the multi-billion  dollar reconstruction effort.”



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