by Jim Kouri
Clash Daily Contributor
An internal investigation within the Pentagon has uncovered the U.S. government has paid more than $150-million to organizations that finance attacks by terrorists against American soldiers serving in Afghanistan, according to an American Political Action Committee (Ameri-Pac) statement released on Wednesday.
Evidence obtained by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), John Sopko,
reveals that a contractor, identified by the CENTCOM (Central Command) commanding officer, is financially supporting the Taliban, the Haqqani Network and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and may provide these groups access to a Coalition-controlled facility.
This security lapse seems to have been caused by gaps in how contractor information is shared by U.S. government agencies supporting the reconstruction effort, Sopko reported.
“Unless immediate action is taken to correct this matter, this contractor and other supporters of the insurgency could continue to gain access to U.S.- and Coalition-controlled facilities in Afghanistan. SIGAR uncovered this matter while investigating construction defects at the Parwan Justice Center complex, a project funded jointly by the Departments of State and Defense,” Sopko wrote in a confidential letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
For example, in June 2011, the Defense Department’s Bagram Regional Contracting Center awarded CLC Construction Company (CLC) a contract to build a courthouse at the Bagram military complex. Sopko claims he began an inspection of the courthouse in May 2013, when he discovered that “U.S. government officials found various problems with the contractor’s work. Inspections found that the courthouse had serious structural deficiencies.”
During the course of his investigation, Sopko discovered that CLC hired the Zurmat Material Testing Laboratory (ZMTL), a subsidiary of the Zurmat Group, to conduct various construction safety tests.
“Evidence obtained by SIGAR indicates that for two days in November 2012, employees of ZMTL were given access to the Parwan Justice Center complex. However, these individuals should not have had access to a Coalition-controlled facility, because the U.S. government determined as early as April 2012, that the Zurmat Group poses a threat to U.S. and Coalition forces,” he stated in his report to Hagel.
On April 27, 2012, the U.S. Commerce Department had added the Zurmat Group and ZMTL to its list of suspicious groups and individuals because of Zurmat’s involvement in providing materials that are considered “dual-purpose” but were actually used to build improvised explosive devices (IEDs) commonly utilized against U.S. and coalition combat troops in Afghanistan.
On September 17, 2012, the CENTCOM commander at the time — Gen. James N. Mattis — identified the Zurmat Group and its subsidiaries as actively supporting the insurgency in Afghanistan. Gen. Mattis’ designation restricted the Zurmat Group and its subsidiaries from receiving Department of Defense contracts within the CENTCOM theater of operations.
“This lapse in security highlights the immediate need for a simple process to ensure that companies identified as supporters of the insurgency are prevented from accessing U.S.- and Coalition-controlled facilities,” said Sopko.
Image: Courtesy of: http://2011periodg.wikispaces.com/Taliban+Control+in+the+late+90%27s
Jim Kouri, CPP, is founder and CEO of Kouri Associates, a homeland security, public safety and political consulting firm. He’s formerly Fifth Vice-President, now a Board Member of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, an editor for ConservativeBase.com, a columnist for Examiner.com, and a contributor to KGAB radio news, a Fox News affiliate.