Last week I reported on an “audit by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction [which] concluded that lack of oversight or control of where money is disbursed has left vast sums of U.S. aid “vulnerable to fraud or diversion to insurgents.” Today there is a story that “part of a $2.16 billion transportation contract was diverted through a murky network of subcontractors and into the hands of a group of Afghan power-brokers, criminals and Taliban insurgents.”
Roughly $600 million of the contract had been spent before authorities were alerted to the scandal, the source said, citing an internal report.
Only part of that money, however, is believed to have been diverted to “nefarious elements,” the source added.
A Pentagon official told CNN the full $2.16 billion contract covered the movement and transportation of 70% of the material needed for U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Officials were first alerted to the possibility of a scandal in June 2010, after a Congressional inquiry prompted the creation of a joint task force to investigate potential criminal dealings surrounding U.S. contracts.
“There were indications dollars were flowing to criminals or to the enemy,” sad the Pentagon official, who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to speak on the record but who has direct knowledge of the U.S. assessment.
As I tried to make clear in my article last week, this kind of thing is common in Afghanistan. Our military efforts there alone are troubling enough, but rampant waste, fraud, and funding of Taliban insurgents surely highlights the futility of the war.