Monday, November 11, 2013

Afghanistan - U.S. paid over $150 million to companies who've financed terrorist attacks against U.S. soldiers

From ABC News:
The United States has paid more than $150 million to companies in Afghanistan that are accused of helping to finance terrorist attacks on American soldiers and facilities, according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction...

A list of 43 companies in Afghanistan was compiled by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) using data from both classified Pentagon investigative reports and Commerce Department lists of terror-connected companies.

Among them is a road construction company the U.S. says is partly owned by a leader of the brutal Haqqani network, which was blamed for an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul that claimed 16 lives in 2011.

The cover letter of a classified investigation by the U.S. Army said there was evidence of a direct role of both the company and its owners "in the facilitation and operation of the Haqqani Network" and that "approximately $1-2 million per month flow[s] to Haqqani Network to finance its activities."...

But despite the broader findings, the Pentagon has resisted permanently blocking the companies from getting more U.S. contracts because, its lawyers say, it would violate the "due process" of the companies which would not be able to see the classified information that details their alleged ties to terror groups.

"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," said John Sopko,  the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). "That's the absurdity of it. We can probably attack them via drone on Monday and we'll issue them a contract on Tuesday."...

Sopko says the Army needs to permanently block the companies from receiving any more U.S. taxpayer money, given the seriousness of the information.

"I am a former prosecutor, I've seen the information and it made my hair stand on end," Sopko said.

In a quarterly report to Congress last July Sopko wrote, "I am deeply troubled that the U.S. military can pursue, attack, and even kill terrorists and their supporters, but that some in the U.S. government believe we cannot prevent these same people from receiving a government contract."

"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," he said.

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