Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pentagon ignored payments to warlords

Congress: Pentagon ignored payments to warlords

By Richard Lardner - The Associated Press
Posted : Tuesday Jun 22, 2010 23:16:19 EDT

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers on Tuesday criticized military officials for failing to heed warnings about the role they say a Pentagon transportation contract plays in fueling extortion and corruption in Afghanistan.

Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass., said at a hearing that the trucking companies hired to move food, water, fuel and ammunition to American troops stationed at bases across Afghanistan are forced to pay warlords millions of dollars to ensure safe passage through dangerous areas.

The spoils may then be funneled to the Taliban and insurgent forces with ties to the warlords, potentially making the U.S. an unwitting financier of the enemy.

“U.S. taxpayer dollars are feeding a protection racket in Afghanistan that would make Tony Soprano proud,” Tierney said, referring to the fictional mob leader in the TV series “The Sopranos.”
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Pentagon ignored payments to warlords

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