A report released Monday night by the House Oversight and Government Reform national security subcommittee reveals that American taxpayer dollars are being spent on protection payments to Afghani warlords.
The report, "Warlord, Inc.: Extortion and Corruption Along the U.S. Supply Chain in Afghanistan," details how Pentagon contractors Host Nation Trucking subcontract to militia leaders in order to secure the swift and unhampered movement of American and NATO convoys through hazardous terrain. But as Rep. John Tierney (D- MA) writes in the introduction, "This arrangement has fueled a vast protection racket run by a shadowy network of warlords, strongmen, commanders [and] corrupt Afghan officials."
He added, "Not only does the system run afoul of the Department's own rules and regulations mandated by Congress. It also appears to risk undermining the U.S. strategy for achieving its goals in Afghanistan."
By paying protection fees, the contractors give these warlords a reason to maintain private armies, fuel corruption and ultimately undermine America's efforts to build a strong Afghani government. In addition, the protection money paid from the Pentagon's $2.16 billion contract is a "potential source of funding for the Taliban."
According to the report, the contractors regularly informed military officials of their fears that they were inadvertently fueling insurgents -- concerns that "were largely met with indifference and inaction."