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US acts to curb Afghan contract corruption

Washington Post / August 16, 2011

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WASHINGTON - The US military has moved to stem the flow of contract money to insurgents, awarding at least 20 companies new contracts worth about $1 billion for military supply transport and suspending seven contractors it found lacking in “integrity and business ethics.’’

The new contracts, which were finalized yesterday and will take effect next month, aim to eliminate layers of brokers and middlemen who allegedly skimmed money, and to allow more transparency in a complex web of Afghan subcontractors paid to provide security for the supply truck convoys. “I think we’ve finally got our arms around this thing,’’ said a senior military officer who was authorized to discuss the matter only on the condition of anonymity.

Congressional investigators determined last year that much of the transport and security money went to the Taliban and Afghan warlords as part of a protection racket to ensure the safe arrival of the convoys, conclusions that were confirmed this spring by military and intelligence inquiries.

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