In a U.S. House report titled Extortion and Corruption Along the U.S. Supply Chain in Afghanistan, we learn the U.S. pays warlords for “protection. Worse, they have complete access to the supplies delivered to our troops in battle. It is another story of unintended consequences. See a video below.
The report makes clear that millions and millions of taxpayer monies are going to the wrong side of the war in Afghanistan. Also clear is that Congress requires the DOD to provide oversight of the Host Nation Trucking contract, and they have not done so. Not only can Congress not control their own spending, they can’t control the DOD either.
From Eyeblast: The DOD signed a $2.1 billion Host Nation Trucking (HNT) contract. These trucks get the food and supplies to our troops – 200 bases in Afghanistan. The report shows 7 areas of corruption. Here are snippets:
1) Security for the U.S. Supply Chain is Principally Provided by Warlords.
The principal private security subcontractors on the HNT contract are warlords, strongmen, commanders, and militia leaders who compete with the Afghan central government for power and authority. Providing “protection” services for the U.S. supply chain empowers these warlords with money, legitimacy, and a raison d’etre for their private armies.
2) The Highway Warlords Run a Protection Racket
The HNT contractors and their trucking subcontractors in Afghanistan pay tens of millions of dollars annually to local warlords across Afghanistan in exchange for “protection” for HNT supply convoys to support U.S. troops. Although the warlords do provide guards and coordinate security, the contractors have little choice but to use them in what amounts to a vast protection racket. [If you don’t pay, your convoys are under attack]
3) Protection Payments for Safe Passage Are a Significant Potential Source of Funding for the Taliban
Within the HNT contractor community, many believe that the highway warlords who provide security in turn make protection payments to insurgents to coordinate safe passage. This belief is evidenced in numerous documents, incident reports, and e-mails that refer to attempts at Taliban extortion along the road.
4) Unaccountable Supply Chain Security Contractors Fuel CorruptionHNT contractors and their private security providers report widespread corruption by Afghan officials and frequent government extortion along the road. The largest private security provider for HNT trucks complained that it had to pay $1,000 to $10,000 in monthly bribes to nearly every Afghan governor, police chief, and local military unit whose territory the company passed.
5) Unaccountable Supply Chain Security Contractors Undermine U.S. Counterinsurgency Strategy
[Outsourcing provides the DOD opportunities for focusing on the mission at hand, but has unintended consequences]
6) The Department of Defense Lacks Effective Oversight of Its Supply Chain and Private Security Contractors in Afghanistan
The Department of Defense has little to no visibility into what happens to the trucks carrying U.S. supplies between the time they leave the gate to the time they arrive at their destination. Despite serious concerns regarding operations, no military managers have ever observed truck operations on the road or met with key security providers.
[Congress requires oversight] The Department of Defense is grossly out of compliance with applicable regulations and has no visibility into the operations of the private security companies that are subcontractors on the HNT contract.
7) HNT Contractors Warned the Department of Defense About Protection Payments for Safe Passage to No Avail
DOD knows some of their contractors are being forced to pay protection] While military officials acknowledged receiving the warnings, these concerns were never appropriately addressed.
See a link to the actual report (pdf) from the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Rep. John F. Tierney is chair of the committee, at Eyeblast Blog.