Tony Capaccio, Bloomberg, Jul 30 2013
Supporters of the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan have been getting US military contracts, and US officials are citing “due process rights” as a reason not to cancel the agreements, according to an independent agency monitoring spending. The US Army Suspension and Debarment Office has declined to act in 43 such cases, John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, said today in a letter accompanying a quarterly report to Congress. Sopko said:
I am deeply troubled that the US military can pursue, attack, and even kill terrorists and their supporters, but that some in the US government believe we cannot prevent these same people from receiving a government contract.The 236-page report and Sopko’s summary provide one of the watchdog agency’s most critical appraisals of US performance in helping to build a stable Afghanistan as the Pentagon prepares to withdraw combat troops by the end of next year. Sopko, whose post was mandated by Congress, said:
There appears to be a growing gap between the policy objectives of Washington and the reality of achieving them in Afghanistan, especially when the government must hire and oversee contractors to perform its mission.Regarding the 43 cases of contractors with militant connections, Sopko said the Army should “enforce the rule of common sense” in its suspension and debarment program. According to the agency’s report:
They may be enemies of the US, but that is not enough to keep them from getting government contracts.