Click for New York Times story: US-backed ‘bribes’ in Afghanistan may be funding Taliban
On June 7, the day Afghanistan became AmericaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s longest-ever war, the New York Times reported on an ongoing investigation poised to prove that private security companies “are using American money to bribe the Taliban” to fuel combat and thus enhance demand for their services. The news follows a “series of events last month that suggested all-out collusion with the insurgents,” the Times said.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), a leading opponent of the war, wondered, “Is the U.S. paying for attacks on U.S. troops?Ã¢â‚¬Â
“Our troops are dying in Afghanistan, and now it turns out we may be funding their killers,” Kucinich said in a statement e-mailed to Raw Story, renewing his longstanding call for a pullout. “Our continued presence in Afghanistan is detrimental to our security.”
“The American people are paying to prop up a corrupt government that may be using our money to pay private companies to drum up business by paying the insurgents to attack our troops,” he said.
KucinichÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s motion in March to implement a swift withdrawal of US troops from the region failed by a margin of 365-65 in the House.
“In the coming weeks, Congress is expected to be asked to give another $33 billion for war efforts… I will be bringing this report to the personal attention of individual Members of Congress prior to the vote on any additional war funding,” the Ohio congressman said.
The Times interviewed a NATO official in Kabul who “believed millions of dollars were making their way to the Taliban.”
A White House spokesperson did not return a request for comment.
Robert Greenwald, an ardent war critic and director of the 2009 documentary “Rethink Afghanistan,” viewed the Times story as vindication for his message.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Supporting a corrupt elite in a civil war does nothing to make us safer, costs the United States billions of dollars, and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not working,Ã¢â‚¬Â Greenwald told Raw Story.
It “confirms what we have heard numerous times from our friends, co workers and producers in Afghanistan. The United States is effectively funding both sides of the war all too often,” he said.
The administration and large bipartisan majorities in Congress continue to support and fund 8-year-long military operations in Afghanistan, warning that a pullout could lead to a Taliban takeover and greater threats to American interests.
Richard Holbrooke, US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, told reporters Monday that the US, Japan, Britain and other countries have Ã¢â‚¬Å“committedÃ¢â‚¬Â roughly Ã¢â‚¬Å“200 million dollarsÃ¢â‚¬Â to fund peace efforts in Afghanistan, Agence-France Presse reports. The Afghanistan Peace and Reconciliation Program aims to reintegrate Taliban fighters who have renounced violence into Afghan society.