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After examining hundreds of combat support and reconstruction contracts in Afghanistan, the U.S military estimates $360 million in U.S. tax dollars has ended up in the hands of people the American-led coalition has spent nearly a decade battling: the Taliban, criminals, and power brokers with ties to both.

But until a special task force assembled by Gen. David Petraeus began its investigation last year, the coalition had little visibility into the connections many Afghan companies and their vast network of subcontractors had with insurgents and criminals — groups military officials call “malign actors.”

In a murky process known as “reverse money laundering,” payments from the U.S. pass through companies hired by the military for transportation, construction, power projects, fuel and other services to businesses and individuals with ties to the insurgency or criminal networks, according to interviews and task force documents obtained by the AP.

Source: Deb Riechmann for The Associated Press.

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