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No kidding, Sherlock

money-talibanConsidering that this is an open secret in Afghanistan that’s been reported for at least two years now by such diverse news sources as PBS, the Guardian, the San Francisco Sentinel, and the Telegraph, the question is not whether the money of U.S. and U.K. taxpayers is being paid to the Taliban, but why it’s being mentioned now in a blog published by the Council on Foreign Relations?

A prominent U.S. contractor in Afghanistan may have inadvertently funneled millions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer dollars to Taliban insurgents in the form of bribes and protection money, according to a review by the inspector general of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

The suspected payments were allegedly made by Afghan subcontractors of Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI), a company based in Bethesda, Maryland that carries out USAID reconstruction projects in some of Afghanistan’s most remote and risky war zones. Afghan representatives of the company in Jalalabad are also under investigation for charging kickbacks to Afghan companies in exchange for USAID contracts, according to the report.

A prominent contractor? Just the one? Who did DAI tick off to take the fall — if indeed anyone ever pays a price for this travesty?

A quick search makes it apparent that this is widespread and ongoing.  The payments weren’t made “inadvertantly”, they are the price of getting things done in a harsh and lawless nation.

It’s mind-numbing. The greatest military in history depends on supplies that arrive only because the tax dollars of patriotic Americans are greasing the palms of Taliban warlords. Americans are contributing to the Taliban’s war effort through this protection racket, providing money to buy weapons that are aimed at American and British soldiers.

This is an outrage that needs to stop.

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