Press TV — July 30, 2013
43 individuals or companies who are supporters of Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan have been given U.S. military contracts despite the knowledge of American officials.
Based on a report by a U.S. government supervisory body, the U.S. Army Suspension and Debarment Office has so far declined to block these individuals or companies from getting U.S. military contracts and to cancel the contracts that have already been awarded to them.
The U.S. army has said it is unable to revoke the contracts because of “due process rights”.
The Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR), John Sopko, has said he’s worried by the army’s refusal to heed the recommendations his office has provided to prevent supporters of the Taliban, the Haqqani network and al Qaeda from getting or keeping U.S. government contracts.
“The Haqqani network, a semi-autonomous arm of the Taliban, is one of the deadliest factions of the latter group; and the most financially diverse and sophisticated as well … the Haqqanis also appear to be the most sophisticated and diversified from a financial standpoint … the Haqqani business portfolio mirrors a mafia operation,” according to an article that appeared on the Council on Foreign Relations’s website.
SIGAR says it has given detailed information to the U.S. army about the role that these individuals and companies play “to support insurgency in Afghanistan” but the army has responded that the information it’s received is not adequate to bar the contractors.
SIGAR officials have said that over $150 million was involved in the contracts 80 percent of which have been given to Afghan contractors and the remaining ones to the contractors from regional countries.
The U.S. invaded Afghanistan 12 years ago to dismantle Al-Qaeda and to remove the Taliban from power.
A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, conducted in July 2013, has found that two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) think that the war was not worth the cost.
According to icasualties.org at least 2257 US soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since the 2001.
“The Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, taken together, will be the most expensive wars in US history – totaling somewhere between $4 to $6 trillion. This includes long-term medical care and disability compensation for service members, veterans and families, military replenishment and social and economic costs. The largest portion of that bill is yet to be paid” prominent Harvard University researcher, Linda J. Bilmes has said in her March 2013 study titled “The Financial Legacy of Iraq and Afghanistan: How Wartime Spending Decisions Will Constrain Future National Security Budgets”.