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22 Jun, 2010 16:31

Some of US taxpayers’ money leaks to Taliban – report

US taxpayer dollars are finding their way to the pockets of the Taliban, according to a new 75-page congressional report about the military's use of Afghan security firms.

The firms are used to ensure the safe passage of supply convoys. If the US doesn’t pay up, almost without fail the convoy gets attacked.

The American military hires trucking companies to deliver supplies to their bases in Afghanistan and leaves it up to the companies to protect themselves. The truckers then pay local security companies or warlords to escort their trucks.

Some of the trucking companies believe the gunmen they hired for protection may have been paying to Taliban not to attack them.

James Denselow, a writer on Middle East politics, believes that the Americans are trapped in Afghanistan.

“Afghanistan is a logistical nightmare for the Americans, it's a landlocked country and 80 percent of American supplies have to go in by land in trucks. And the need for it is huge, they have about a 100,000 soldiers who consume a vast amount of fuel and ammunition each day,” Denselow told RT.

Brian Becker, director of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, believes that the report will weaken the already frail position of the government concerning the war.

“There is such fragile support – if “support” is the word at all – for the US/NATO war in Afghanistan that something like this can have a very destabilizing effect for the administration’s efforts to maintain some semblance of support from the broader public,” Becker told RT. “I think we see now that the US government is – as it did in Iraq but perhaps for similar and somewhat different reasons – paying or providing funds for those that they are supposedly at war with, the insurgent forces. And I think the political fall out both in the left and the right in the United States is great because there is opposition across the political spectrum to the war in Afghanistan and as you know, that support internationally is withering as we speak.”

Representative John Tierney, who chairs the congressional committee which carried out the investigation, said its findings raise key questions about how US strategy in Afghanistan should continue.

“We need to have people have confidence in the Afghan government, which means there has to be far less corruption,” Tierney told RT. “One, that people can trust on that basis to the extent that throwing all of this international money into the situation without having the oversight… There is really no other alternative – you either change your strategy or you certainly change the way that you approach it currently.”