$800 per Gallons of Gas??? Key to Afghan Convoy Safe Passage Is the Paymaster
Every day, on average, more than 200 trucks leave Bagram Air Field, the largest U.S. base in Afghanistan, full of everything the United States needs to fight the war. Bagram is the logistics hub for the now $60 billion a year war, where some 70 percent of the supplies arrive from Pakistan on their way to more than 200 small bases across Afghanistan.
In this landlocked country, the United States has turned to eight private trucking companies to deliver the materiel and split a $2.16 billion Host Nation Trucking contract. To do that, the companies turn to the baddest, meanest, most heavily armed people on some of the most dangerous roads in the world: Highway 1 between Kabul, Kandahar, and Helmand.
One American trucking executive details how the payments work: Each district or province that straddles Highway 1 has a “paymaster,” an intermediary between the private security company and those who attack the trucks. The paymaster will collect money from the security company — “an increasingly large amount,” the executive quips — and distribute it to whoever he needs to, including the Taliban, thieves, corrupt local officials, road bandits. “The lines between those groups are often blurry,” the executive says.
Once that happens, the company’s trucks are each marked physically with a distinguishing characteristic, and without exception, the trucking company executive says they travel through some of the country’s most dangerous roads without incident, often passing through checkpoints run by police who are also getting a cut.
The cost is $1,500 per truck from Bagram to Kandahar, with $1,500 needed for each truck that continues on to Helmand. Given that convoys are often as large as 300 trucks, a single trip might make a security company more than half a million dollars.
“What we usually do is provide funds to a tribal elder, who will then say, this convoy is XYZ, leave it alone. They’ve paid,” the executive says. “No matter how bad things get out there, the trucks always get through… We don’t need any security if the payments are made. Nobody f—s with us.”
Another American trucking executive describes a slightly different scenario. His company pays one of the largest security companies in the country — not identified because it could reveal which company the executive works for — to guarantee safe passage. The payments are roughly the same price, but the security company says it uses them to purchase millions of dollars of guns, ammunition and hundreds of fighters to defend every single convoy.
But fears that the security company was using the money to pay insurgents were reinforced on May 14. After a handful of particularly bad incidents, the security company – along with one other – was prohibited from accompanying any trucks. That same day, according to the second American trucking executive, his company lost 6 trucks. Within a few weeks, the government allowed the companies to resume convoy duties.
The American executive said he was convinced that all along, the security company had been staging attacks against the convoys it was defending in order to convince the trucking company of the need to pay for protection.
Afghan Report Says Lieutenant Colonels Were Aware of Convoy Bribes
The trucking companies are told to deliver the goods, no matter what, according to the Tierney subcommittee and the American trucking executives.
“I have had conversations with contracting officers and have relayed to them that we’re having to pay” to guarantee security, the first American trucking company executive said. Their response: “There’s nothing we can do.”
Afghanistan haulage contract helping to fund Taliban, says US report
$2.2bn contract to supply US and Nato troops fuelling vast protection racket run by warlords, warns congressional report
Private haulage companies that carry vital supplies to American soldiers in Afghanistan have helped to fund the Taliban and fuel “a vast protection racket run by a shadowy network of warlords”, according to a US congressional report.
A contract worth $2.2bn (£1.5bn), which pays for the transport of supplies to US bases, has exacerbated the rise of warlord activity and “may be a significant source of funding for insurgents”, according to the report entitled Warlord, Inc.
The assessment came as the commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan ordered a crackdown on private contractors operating in the country.
General Stanley McChrystal believes that although the companies are vital for resupplying US troops, they are also undermining the counter-insurgency campaign’s focus on trying to win support among Afghans for the government in Kabul.
Security companies, which critics say are akin to small private armies staffed by poorly trained men, can also enrage the local population when they get involved in fire fights against insurgents or just as heavily armed competitors.
The report also highlighted a problem of these private militias extorting money from the primary contractors by attacking convoys that have not bought protection. Such highway warlords are also believed to pay protection money direct to insurgents, it said.
In some parts of Helmand province cash payments made to security firms have soared to as much as $15,000 a lorry, according to testimonies in the report.
Although many warlords operate under the name of officially registered private security companies, “they thrive in a vacuum of government authority and their interests are in fundamental conflict with US aims to build a strong Afghan government,” said the report.
The Afghan president’s half-brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, is seen as an example of someone who has grown rich and powerful from the foreign war economy, which this year is expected to rise to about $20bn for US and Nato funding alone.
The cost of a gallon of gas delivered to US units in Afghanistan has risen to $800.
Afghan govt control over the land went down 15% 2015-2018
AFGHANISTAN By TOLOnews.com
02 NOVEMBER 2018
-Afghan Govt’s Control Of Districts At Its Lowest Level: SIGAR
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) on Thursday presented its 41st quarterly report on the status of reconstruction in Afghanistan to the US Congress in which it said that the Afghan government’s control and influence of districts is at lowest level (55.5%) since the institution began tracking in November 2015.
SIGAR also stated in its report that the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) had 312,328 personnel in July 2018 (not including civilians), down 1,914 personnel since last quarter and down 8,827 personnel since the same period last year.
The report said the Afghan government controls or has influence over 55.5 percent of the country’s districts, down half a percentage point from the previous three-month period and 16 percentage points since November 2015.
The Real Reason the US is Staying in Afghanistan
By Ronald Enzweiler -September 19, 2019
Poppy Fields Flourish In Govt-Controlled Greshk
A TOLOnews probe has found that poppies are freely cultivated and harvested in government controlled Dasht-e-Saminar in Helmland
“Government told us we are free to cultivate drugs,” said Mohammad Zaman, another local land owner.
ALSO– The US is one of the largest buyers of RUSSIAN arms. The Afghan airforce pilots are only trained to fly RUSSIAN helicopters. The US govt is forced to buy RUSSIAN helicopters for the Afghan pilots. Crazy EH???