New US military transport contract aims to end diversion of money to Taliban
The military's new transport and supply contract in Afghanistan is meant to stop US funds from being diverted to warlords and the Taliban. But many Afghans fear the damage is already done.
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“While US agencies have taken steps to strengthen their oversight over US funds flowing through the Afghan economy, they still have limited visibility over the circulation of these funds, leaving them vulnerable to fraud or diversion to insurgents,” wrote the report.Skip to next paragraph
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Throughout the course of the war, the US has relied on private Afghan security companies to secure their supply and logistics convoys. As a result, local strongmen grew rich almost overnight through these contracts, often times allegedly paying off the Taliban not to attack convoys.
With money these local strongmen managed to drastically expand their influence into government and security affairs.
In Uruzgan Province, Matiullah Khan was a taxi driver when the US war began in 2001. In a few short years he became a millionaire running security for NATO convoys in his area. Earlier this month, he was appointed as the chief of police in Uruzgan province, despite numerous allegations of human rights abuses.
“This is the reality of recent years. The Afghan government and also the international community have depended on these new warlords who do not have any support from their people or the tribes,” says the owner of a construction company in southern Afghanistan, who asked to remain anonymous fearing reprisal from local warlords.
New contract takes effect next month
Even if the new contract, which will take effect next month, stems the flow of money to the insurgency, many Afghans say that the warlords created by the previous contract may pose a far greater danger to the country than the Taliban or other insurgent groups.
Many of these new warlords are now said to be involved in a variety of illicit businesses, extortion, and extrajudicial killings, although nearly all of them categorically deny these allegations.
“This group of new warlords is much more cruel than those we’ve had in the past. In the past, our other leaders were just fighting for the power, but now they have experience doing all kinds of bad things – smuggling, kidnapping, taking people’s land,” says Abdul Jameel, a property dealer in Kabul. “As they got more money after 2001, their cruelty began increasing.”
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