Welcome to the wartime contracting bazaar in Afghanistan. It is a virtual carnival of improbable characters and shady connections, with former CIA officials and ex-military officers joining hands with former Taliban and mujahedeen to collect US government funds in the name of the war effort.
In this grotesque carnival, the US military's contractors are forced to pay suspected insurgents to protect American supply routes. It is an accepted fact of the military logistics operation in Afghanistan that the US government funds the very forces American troops are fighting. And it is a deadly irony, because these funds add up to a huge amount of money for the Taliban. "It's a big part of their income," one of the top Afghan government security officials told The Nation in an interview. In fact, US military officials in Kabul estimate that a minimum of 10 percent of the Pentagon's logistics contracts--hundreds of millions of dollars--consists of payments to insurgents.
It just shows how incredibly complex Afghanistan is. There are so many parties that just switch or choose sides based on their own security and economic interest.
To be honest, I cannot believe this is condoned by the Taliban leadership either, since it makes absolutely no military sense. If it really is impossible for the US itself to secure these supply lines without paying these 'insurgents', then surely the Taliban would cut them off and starve US troops of crucial supplies? These local insurgents probably just do whatever allows them to line their own pockets or feed their own families or clans.
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