US money ended up in Taliban hands: report

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US government funds earmarked ostensibly to promote business in Afghanistan have landed in Taliban hands under a $2.16 billion transportation contract, The Washington Post reported.
Citing the results of a year-long military-led investigation, the newspaper said the US and Afghan efforts to address the problem have been slow, and all eight of the trucking firms involved remain on US payroll. Moreover, the Pentagon extended the contract for six months last March, the report said.
The investigation found “documented, credible evidence … of involvement in a criminal enterprise or support for the enemy” by four of the eight prime contractors, the paper noted. According to The Post, investigators followed a $7.4 million payment to one of the eight companies, which in turn paid a subcontractor, which 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, the report said.
Intelligence officials then traced $3.3 million, withdrawn in 27 transactions from the commander’s account, that was transferred to insurgents in the form of weapons, explosives and cash, the paper said. “This goes beyond our comprehension,” The Post quoted Representative John Tierney as saying.