For Immediate Release
Ben Wyskida, 212-209-5426
Nation Story Prompts Congressional Investigation Into Afghan Supply Line Corruption
House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs Investigating Possible U.S. Payouts to Warlords Revealed In Aram Roston's "How the U.S. Funds The Taliban"
NEW YORK - The
U.S. House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs
announced Wednesday an investigation into the Department of Defense's
Afghan Host Nation Trucking Contract, in an inquiry prompted by Aram
Roston's November investigation, How the U.S. Funds the Taliban.
In the story, supported by the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute and published as The Nation Magazine's
November 12th cover story, Roston details how hundreds of millions of
dollars in U.S. taxpayer funds are being funneled to Afghan insurgents,
including the Taliban, as payoffs to protect trucking supply lines. In
the story, both U.S. and Afghan officials and private contractors
admitted that it's almost impossible to ensure safe passage of U.S. and
coalition supplies without offering bribes to the Taliban.
In a statement, Representative John Tierney (D-Mass) said that if these allegations are shown to be true, "It
would mean that the United States is unintentionally engaged in a vast
protection racket and, as such, may be indirectly funding the very
insurgents we are trying to fight."
committee has requested documents from the Department of Defense and
their primary trucking contractors related to the DOD's $2.1 billion
"Host Nation Trucking" contract. On December 2nd, Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton conceded in testimony before congress that supply lines
are a primary breeding ground for fraud and corruption by Afghan
warlords. On December 7th, the spokesman for NATO forces in Afghanistan
acknowledged that contract dollars might be making their way into
Taliban hands. But the House Subcommittee investigation is the first
official inquiry resulting from Roston's Nation cover story.
the U.S. escalates its presence in Afghanistan, corruption and fraud
are emerging as a central challenge in the conflict," said Katrina
vanden Heuvel, The Nation's Editor and Publisher. "Aram Roston's
reporting, and the Tierney investigation, are pulling back the curtain
on corruption that imperils any hope for peace in Afghanistan. We
commend Rep. Tierney for opening an inquest, and will continue to
report on this story in The Nation."
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