Some Western Aid Money Ending Up In Taliban Pockets - Report
It’s an open secret in Afghan regions controlled by the Taliban: Organizations implementing aid projects allocate a portion of their budgets to payments to the insurgents, a report says.
While the Taliban oppose projects financed by what they call foreign “invaders,” local businessmen say the rebel group is willing to support initiatives backed by the local populaton “usually for a fee of around 10 percent of the project cost,” Agence France-Presse reports.
Afghan businessman Rahim, who secured a deal from a NATO subcontractor to build a road in the southern region, told AFP that he paid a Taliban representative more than $20,000 each month to stop possible attacks.
“It was a good deal. We finished the project in seven months, 20 days ahead of schedule, without once being attacked,” he said.
“Companies paying the Taliban is not a problem for us,” Ahmad Shah Wahid, Afghan deputy minister for public works, told AFP. “The main thing is to get the job done.”
Thomas Ruttig, of Kabul think tank Afghan Analysts Network, says Western aid funding is now one of the Taliban’s main sources of income.
“The Taliban have changed their behaviour vis-a-vis the reconstruction,” he told AFP. “Their overall policy now is to present themselves as a parallel government that is good to people.”
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