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Warlord, Inc.: Extortion and Corruption Along the U.S. Supply Chain in Afghanistan
John F. Tierney
After a six-month investigation, this report exposes the circumstances surrounding the Dept. of Defense’s (DOD) outsourcing of security on the supply chain in Afghanistan to questionable providers, including warlords. The findings of this report range from sobering to shocking. In short, DOD designed a contract that put responsibility for the security of vital U.S. supplies on contractors and their unaccountable security providers. This arrangement has fueled a vast protection racket run by a shadowy network of warlords, strongmen, commanders, corrupt Afghan officials, and perhaps others. Not only does the system run afoul of DOD’s own rules and regulations mandated by Congress, it also appears to risk undermining the U.S. strategy for achieving its goals in Afghanistan. To be sure, Afghanistan presents an extremely difficult environment for military operations, logistics, and business practices. Nevertheless, the evidence indicates that little attention was given to the cost-benefit analysis of allowing the system to continue in a fashion that injected a good portion of a $2.16 billion contract’s resources into a corruptive environment. This report is confined to the facts pertaining to the Host Nation Trucking contracts, and in that limited sphere there are constructive changes that can be made to the U.S. supply chain in Afghanistan to improve contracting integrity while mitigating corrupting influences. The report offers some realistic recommendations to serve as a catalyst for what appears to be a much-needed reconsideration of policy. Figures.
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