Great news: U.S. still paying Afghan contractors who aid the Taliban

Great news: U.S. still paying Afghan contractors who aid the Taliban

The inspector general overseeing Afghanistan reconstruction efforts has flagged dozens of Afghan contractors for aiding the Taliban or undermining U.S. security while providing services to the U.S. government — but the Defense Department continues to pay them.

Deputy Inspector General Gene Aloise gave a status update on the activities of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) this week at the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency conference in Alexandria. …

SIGAR, which operates independently of any federal agency, will remain in operation until funding that remains to be disbursed falls below $250 million. Aloise said $16 billion is “still in the reconstruction pipeline.”

“One of our first special projects was investigating and issuing an alert letter on contractors’ failure to install culvert-denial systems to prevent or deter insurgents from planting IEDs under Afghan roads,” Aloise said. “We alerted General Allen and others in his command to this problem, which not only involved fraudulent payments, but lethal threats to U.S. and Coalition personnel. In fact, two U.S. servicemen lost their lives over one of these culverts.” …

The inspector general has referred 43 cases to the Defense Department where the CENTCOM commander flagged an Afghan contractor as “actively supporting the insurgency” or where the Commerce Department found a contractor to be “engaging in activities contrary to the national security interests of the U.S.”

“Unfortunately, the Army suspension and debarment official decided that these designations were not adequate grounds for suspension or debarment and rejected all 43 cases,” Aloise continued. “We do not understand why the Army permits deadly enemies and their sympathizers to get federal dollars which can be used to buy the means to kill our troops.”

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