Washington: US contracts have been the Taliban's biggest source of funds except for the opium harvest, a report issued by the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan has said.
It is no secret that war is expensive, but the report said the United States has wasted billions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and more tax dollars will go down the drain unless the government makes big changes.
The commission was told that except for the opium harvest, US contracts were the Taliban's biggest source of funds, while a separate investigation estimated that USD 360 million have ended up in the hands of the Taliban, CBS News reports.
"We are wasting between USD 30 and USD 60 billion during the course of our engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan." Commission on Wartime Contracting chairman Christopher Shays said.
The sheer volume of spending- as many as 260,000 contractors on the payroll at any one time- amid the chaos of war was simply too much for the US to manage, the report said.
A USD 60 million project to distribute seeds and fertilizer to Afghan farmers became a USD 360 million cash for work program "paying villages for what they used to do voluntarily”.
The commission also warned of massive new waste. For instance, there is a planned USD 82-million Afghan defence university that the Afghanistan Government cannot afford to keep up.
"What is the point of spending hundreds of millions on projects that will then fall into disuse?" asked commission member Dov Zakheim.
The commission warned that, without a major overhaul of wartime contracting, the US might waste more tax dollars as the wars drag on.
First Published: Thursday, September 01, 2011, 12:39