The United States has paid more than $150 million to companies in Afghanistan that are accused of helping to finance terrorist attacks on American soldiers and facilities, according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.
ABC News (h/t bonampak) “It’s like the United States government subsidizing the Taliban, al Qaeda, the Haqqani network, those groups that are trying to shoot and kill our soldiers,” said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., a member of the Senate’s Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, in an interview to be broadcast tonight on ABC News’ “World News with Diane Sawyer.”
A list of 43 companies in Afghanistan was compiled by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) using data from both classified Pentagon investigative reports and Commerce Department lists of terror-connected companies.
Among them is a road construction company the U.S. says is partly owned by a leader of the brutal Haqqani network, which was blamed for an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul that claimed 16 lives in 2011.
The cover letter of a classified investigation by the U.S. Army said there was evidence of a direct role of both the company and its owners “in the facilitation and operation of the Haqqani Network” and that “approximately $1-2 million per month flow[s] to Haqqani Network to finance its activities.”
But despite the broader findings, the Pentagon has resisted permanently blocking the companies from getting more U.S. contracts because, its lawyers say, it would violate the “due process” of the companies which would not be able to see the classified information that details their alleged ties to terror groups.
“The reason they’ve given us is that it’s not fair to these contractors that the evidence that we’ve presented, and this is evidence collected by the United States government, is classified,” John Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), told ABC News. “That’s the absurdity of it. We can probably attack them via drone on Monday and we’ll issue them a contract on Tuesday.”
Sopko, along with U.S. commanders in the field and members of Congress have all urged the Pentagon to take action, but to no avail.