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Saturday, October 2

GlobalPost Investigation: millions in U.S. taxpayer dollars funneled to Taliban via USAID projects in Afghanistan

With all the aid money poured into Afghanistan
why are these Afghan children hauling drinking water?

GlobalPost co-founder Charles "C.M." Sennott's September 30 report on the Taliban protection racket, which U.S. taxpayers have been unwittingly funding for years, is an update to an investigation GlobalPost began more than a year ago.

The background is that GlobalPost's August 7, 2009 report Life, Death and the Taliban caught the attention of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which prompted USAID (which has been under the control of the U.S. Department of State since 2001), to begin a review of how subcontractors on USAID projects in Afghanistan dealt with security threats. Now Sennott reports on the results of the review thus far:
... A year-long probe into USAID funding in Afghanistan found that Afghan subcontractors have been funneling millions of dollars in taxpayer money to the Taliban, according to a report obtained by GlobalPost.

The report concludes that Afghan subcontractors implementing a Local Governance and Community Development (LGCD) project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), were likely paying a “protection tax” to local insurgents, including the Taliban, of up to 20 percent off the top of development projects in remote areas where the Taliban effectively holds control.

At the rate of 20 percent, that would mean an estimated $5.2 million of USAID funds were “at risk of falling into the hands of insurgents,” the report states, through the protection racket in which the Taliban provided its own “security guards” for the project in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province.

The probe offers merely a glimpse into what many aid experts and former aid officials who have worked extensively in Afghanistan believe is a widespread protection racket in which the Taliban extorts tens of millions of dollars a year from international development projects. ...
There is much more to Sennott's report, so I urge you to read it in its entirety. Also see Jean MacKenzie's September 2, 2009 report for GlobalPost titled Are U.S. Taxpayers Funding the Taliban?
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